Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Favorite Environment

The mat is the only place where I am truly quiet. That long narrow black piece of plastic I spend a little over an hour on at the end of everyday is the only place I feel completely free.

I look forward to the time I will spend there from the moment I open my eyes in the morning. Throughout my day the anticipation of sitting down on my mat consumes me. Once I arrive at my favorite destination I realize that now it is the journey that really matters as I twist and turn and bend myself through every pose.
Yoga will be without a doubt the best and most challenging hour of my day. I will depend on my breath holding every posture like a newborn depends on a parent’s care.
When I first arrive I prepare I take the opening moments to acquaint myself with my surroundings, I take it all in. This is important so I will eliminate these distractions through the rest of class. I notice the lighting. Are they brighter than I had hoped or do I have to squint to see my toes? I notice the people surrounding me. Is it my best friend in the world who accompanies me to yoga everyday or a friendly stranger who I admire for trying the hobby I adore so much for the first time? I notice the sounds. Do I hear chatter outside the studio or my favorite song blasting through the speakers?
Noticing these things at the onset allows me to entirely focus my attention inwards, drowning out all outside distractions. My entire world exists on my mat even if only for 90 minutes it becomes my magic carpet taking me anywhere I want to go.
I forget about time. Time does not seem to pass like it does when I step off my magic mat.
Why does it seem every chair pose lasts forever and every child’s pose is over in the blink of an eye? The answer: my mind. My mind will want to tell me all kinds of things that are false. I have to learn to ignore it, and think only with what my body feels.
Silencing my mind I concentrate on my breath. Deeply inhaling and exhaling taking in everything I can. Breathing and realizing, my breathe is the one thing that is guaranteed to be with me as long as I am alive. Breathing, the simplest thing you can do will become my greatest ally on and off the mat.
Now I can begin to move, I pass through each movement, not only listening to the teacher say each pose we to move into but listening to the louder more important voice inside my head telling me what pose I need to hold or skip.
The practice does not end when I open my eyes, finish the om, or even when I roll up my mat and leave the warm room I could stay in forever, instead that is where it begins.
Regardless of grade level, major or hometown college students continually feel pressured. Whether it’s the scream hear all around campus in the middle of finals week or deciding what party to go to on any given night or figuring out what you will do with the rest of your life; college has a way of making stressing you out when in the grand scheme of things you may never even remember what you are dealing with now. Yoga acts as a way of relieving some of this pressure even if only for a while.

I love TOM

What a cool idea? The idea of TOMS shoes is one I wish I would’ve thought of to say the least. What a simple yet beautiful thought, shoes for TOMorrow for every pair of shoes sold TOMS shoes gives a pair to a child in need. TOMS shoes chief Giver Blake Mycoskie is said to be a social entrepreneur, as someone who clearly transfers his entrepreneurial abilities into positive change and social responsibility.

I bought my TOMS shoes fully aware of the concept after seeing a friend sporting chic black and white polka dot pair. What I did not anticipate was that my navy blue canvas pair of TOMS shoes would appear attached to my feet to everyone I know. I based outfits and activities around wearing them, I loved them so much in the first few weeks after they were delivered to my house.

Not that I don’t love them just the same now, my now extremely worn TOMS shoes find their way to my feet whenever possible but with every falling snowflake it’s becoming less and less practical. But leave it to Blake to come up with a solution to that problem as well, TOMS now offers “Botas,” their version of a boat.

While my TOMS shoes proved to be the most comfortable pair of shoes I owned, what they represented had an even greater impact on me. The concept of helping everyone have shoes is lovely but when I learned that the leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites, which penetrate the skin through open sores I was convinced TOMS shoes were in fact saving the world one pair of shoes at a time and this is what made me never want to take them off.

I want to be as involved as possible with the movement and I’ve quickly realized I’m far from alone. Whenever I’m wearing my TOMS (in my case every time I take a step) I am constantly complimented or questioned about them. I enjoy being a walking advertisement for this company promoting social change .

Who doesn’t want to help children in developing countries have shoes? Think about running, playing and just simply getting around completely barefoot. In addition, many schools in developing countries require shoes as part of the uniform, so no shoes can even mean no education. This terrible reality is remedied by SHOES and with this TOMS shoes saves the world, one pair at a time.

This year during the holidays I plan to buy as many “double gifts” as I can. I have already ordered a pair for my best friend’s (don’t worry she doesn’t read my blog, she looked at it once and said I they were too long) Christmas present. A present for Ellen and a step towards a better tomorrow…perfect.