Setting an Intention...On a Fat Ass

Fat Ass racing is fun.   They don’t usually cost much, if anything...in this case, $15 and a jug of water.  The return, however, is priceless. A day spent on a fabulously muddy trail, with wildflowers, warm air (I wore SHORTS!!), and fantastic views.   Just what a soul needs to smile!


I’ve been working on getting my 200- hour yoga certification.  It’s been a process that started in my head when I began Cross Country coaching.   Taking that job opened up avenues that, I was unaware existed. Although I have been a personal trainer, who refuses to accept payment, for several years; I did not fully embrace my ability to be of service to others, or for that matter, fully benefiting from the service of others.  


I start every yoga class I teach by asking my students to set an intention for their practice.   I will not guide or alter these intentions, I only ask two things:
  1. They are present tense.
  2. When I challenge them, I want them to mentally refer back to that  intention.


Last week, I was honored to teach one of my largest classes yet.  After, a young man came up and hugged me. This is a very yoga-ish thing to happen, but a very unlikely move from this gentleman.   He said, “you just taught me more about how I think in one hour, then I’ve been able to realize in my whole life”. Making such an impact is fuel in my desire to teach from my vast life experiences.


I cringe when someone says I inspire them or that they want to “be like me”.  I always redirect and say that is a dis-service to who they are. There already is a me.  The world is not in need of another. Set YOUR intention. Set it for right this moment. Use what you have available to you.  Ask why you are here, and have an answer. And, most importantly, when things challenge you, refer back to that intention.


It was in this mindset, that I took off for my fat ass 50k.  (For what it’s worth, the name is a term of encouragement to get your “fat ass” up and running)


My intention was simple...I wanted to feel my heartbeat.  Truly and utterly feel it beating. In it, I know there is life.   The course was horribly muddy, and I had many streams to traverse.  On the bank, I would put my hand to my heart. Yes! It is strong. Proof that I am strong.  When I was climbing hills that made it hard to keep my pace, I stopped and put my hand to my heart...It was wildly excited...proof that I am lucky to have this kind of excitement in my life.   On long flat trail, where I could open my stride, I could feel it pumping steady...proof that I have built the ability to do this over years of training...it is a gift I have given myself.


As is often the case, my mind would start to wander during the race.  I forced myself to dismiss those thoughts and focus on the lub dub of my heart.   The thoughts that entered my mind were of the past or future...neither of which I could effect on those trails.  It gave me peace.


I thought about that student.  I thought about re-thinking how I think about myself.   I thought about my ability to stop well-worn thought processes by just feeling my heartbeat.   I took the yoga lessons of breath from my mat, and I put them on the trail. I let my body run that trail and I gave my brain a nice time-out.


I purposely chose this intention because it is out of my control.   I can not tell my heart what to do, but I can listen to it, and follow where it leads me.


And, to that student.  Thank you for teaching me about me.

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