Self-Care Challenge (Day 2): Cultivating Intentions

Stacy Fisher-Gunn and Maria Bliss at YogaBliss on Mercer Island

On day 2 of my 366-day self-care challenge I explored cultivating intentions.

Yesterday afternoon, I joined sixteen fellow lovers-of-life at Yogabliss on Mercer Island to attend MacKenzie Miller’s workshop, “Cultivating a New Year.” The purpose of the gathering was to spend time reflecting on what we wanted to bring with us into 2016 — and equally important, what we’d like to leave behind us in 2015. As we vacillated between yoga poses, meditation, journaling and group sharing, we connected not only with one another, but also with ourselves on a much deeper level.

For some reason, the yoga part was really hard for me — like, really hard. I typically opt for gentle yoga, where the movements are much slower with periods of rest in between, but after yesterday’s intense flow sequences, I feel like I just ran a 5K. I spent most of the class wobbling around trying to see which pose I was supposed to be in. At one point, I was so frustrated with myself that I thought about walking to the coffee shop across the street to grab a cup of tea and a pastry, and imagined myself watching the rest of the class through the window.

But those thoughts are precisely why I continue going to classes like this, and why I prefer group exercise classes to solo workouts. The positive energy of other people always motivates me to push through and challenge myself. (Otherwise, I probably would have been drinking tea and eating a pastry.)

The real highlight for me, though, was having the opportunity to connect with some amazing individuals that I would have never met otherwise. These brave souls shared some of their most intimate life struggles with complete strangers, and they still had the strength to offer encouraging words to others in the group. I’m just now beginning to understand why it seems that yogis live so buoyantly: It is a choice to live above the noise of negativity. Living upp is about living intently, buoyantly, remaining more focused on what brings you joy than what steals it.

The time spent reflecting with these inspiring individuals has helped me decide on a mantra for 2016: Connection.

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