By Sarah Lesch
For the first time in a long while, I had a free morning. As the mother of three small kids, these moments of alone time can feel like the most brilliant of gifts. Even though my “to-do” list was staring me down, I chose to hop on my bike and get in some well-needed exercise. In Tampa, we have a continuous bike path called Bayshore. On one side of the path, cars whiz by speeding to their next destination. On the other side is the Hillsborough Bay. Maybe you have something similar in your city.
At first, my bike ride started out all about the physical aspects of my exercise. I was out there to get in shape, to feel the burn of the thighs, to get my heartbeat up, but the more my eyes wandered to the waters of the bay, the less my bike ride became about the body. As I heard the sounds of the seagulls, as I saw egrets out hunting the shallow waters, the softer I pedaled. My mind became calm, content, my pace slowed a bit, until I altogether stopped and just sat on my bike, listening…watching. For those few minutes, I realized I was not watching nature, but a part of it. I was actually in the scene, completely one with the dolphins swimming by and the birds flying overhead. BKS Iyengar, a renowned writer and yoga teacher, wrote “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.” I felt the symphony, the hum of the universe around me and also within me.
After a few minutes, I looked over my shoulder, and was reminded of the traffic hurrying by. So often, I’m on that side of the path, quickly moving in my car, never even noticing that a dolphin is playing on the other side with her baby. Sakyong Miphan Rinpoche says, “Speed is the disease of our times. If we cut speed and relax with what’s going on in our life right now, kindness and patience will come about.” Each day of our lives we have that choice- the highway side of life or the watery side of life. Our intellect often guides us to stay on the busy streets, to get ahead, to stay the course.
The intellect can be the part of the mind that sets up reasons to keep driving, many times based out of fear, doubt, insecurities, or just old habits. The reasoning sounds completely rational and we can begin to believe them as truth. Must keep moving, we chant robotically. However, when we set aside time to pause and linger, we can begin to access the part of ourselves that is beyond the intellect. This is the wisdom of the heart, your instinct. It begins to whisper “yes, you can”, encouraging you down the right path.
When you’re guided from the heart, your life flows with the rhythm of a jazz song, the highs and lows become part of the tune, oozing beauty, perfection, and ease. You start to just know when something feels right. Often athletes describe a feeling of being in the “zone”. The sound of the roaring crowds disappears and they begin to move from a place of instinct, commitment to their sport imbedded in their bones. As we clear the clutter of the mind, this place of instinct becomes more and more accessible and the roadblocks that the intellect sets up become less and less powerful on your decisions.
So offer yourself a pause today. It could be outdoors. It could be in front of a beautiful work of art or listening to a great music track. Let it come to you, let it fill every part of your being so the mind becomes quiet and still. Notice it all. Exercise today because it will help you feel more creative and open later, because it may help you be a kinder, more compassionate person. Whatever you choose to do, step into the flow of the heart and the intellect will let go of resistance knowing that the heart is truly smarter.
About the author: Sarah Lesch is a 500- hour registered yoga teacher and contributing writer for Yoga Tampa Bay. She teaches at The Lotus Room where her classes are an intuitive expression of movement and breath, skillfully guiding students to draw upon their own inner strengths. She leads meditation, parenting, and advanced asana workshops throughout the area, as well as Stand-Up Paddleboarding adventures. Sarah enjoys poetry, art, music, and family. Following the wisdom that the individual epitomizes the universe, she promotes self awareness and personal growth.