Today, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun more than any other day in 2011. As a result, it is the sunniest day of the year! Did you know that the Summer Solstice is a major holiday in Sweden? The Swedes celebrate with dancing, maypoles, folk music and feasting that lasts for a week. Given our northerly, soggy winters and springs, if I were President, I would allow – no, require – those of us living in the Pacific Northwest to take a week-long regional holiday in which we, too, would dance, feast and frolic. Perhaps we can take a lesson from our neighbors to the north. The sun is something to celebrate!
Earlier today, moments after the sun was situated directly beneath the Tropic of Cancer, I left the office to spend 75 minutes practicing Kundalini yoga. This practice is somewhat new to me. It is defined as a physical, mental and spiritual exercise for developing strength, character, and consciousness.
Yoga doesn’t come easy to me, nor does meditation, and over the past six years or so I’ve struggled to make a place for each in my daily experience. But more often than not, I let them go as competing priorities squash my plans to get to the studio or pay attention to a yoga DVD. I think this is because although I cherish a quiet space, I don’t necessarily embrace just being with myself. (The exception to this is during a run, for I am most definitely a solitary runner. Occasionally I’ll meet a friend for a run, but it doesn’t happen often).
One of the chapters in the book I long to write is called Quieting the Mind, and discusses the psychological qualities unique to ultra marathoners, participants of distance triathlon and open water distance swimmers, and how those qualities separate them from the madding crowd. Through research and in-person interviews, I am learning about the special attributes, both physical and mental, and perhaps even spiritual, that enhances men and women’s ability to participate and excel in serious endurance sport. Did you know that there are Triple Ultra Triathlons? That’s a 11.4 km swim – 540 km bike – 126.6 km run event, in case you were wondering. I haven’t done all the math, but I think that’s roughly a 79-mile run, after a long swim and lengthy bike ride. Wow.
I think of yoga as a difference kind of endurance sport. It is physically challenging, definitely, but it also takes a true commitment to the mental component. My commitment today is to continue taking weekly Kundalini classes, for at least a month, to begin to explore its affect on me both emotionally and physically.
That’s it for today. Get outside already!