Day 82: Sit in the lotus position for 30 minutes.Posted: March 23, 2011
I did this yesterday, actually, because my Wednesdays are full enough that I don’t have a half-hour anywhere in which to sit in an uncomfortable position and not do anything else. Also it meant that my wife was around to witness my completion of this task, should her testimony prove necessary.
The first five minutes were fine, though they went slower than I thought they should have. After the five-minute mark, though, my back started to hurt: a fairly acute cramping in the right-middle section of my back, which eventually settled into a dull ache. Once that hurdle was passed, things went smoothly until about 23 minutes, when my left leg started aching. It had fallen asleep by 25 minutes, and at 27 minutes I was ready to quit, but my wife shamed me into toughing it out until the end.
Aside from the physical discomfort, though, it was actually an enjoyable exercise.
Okay, so “enjoyable” is probably too strong a word. At the time, I found it refreshing to spend thirty minutes both not doing anything and not trying to distract myself with technology, which is what I normally do when I’m not doing anything. It was a space of time in which I was engaged in the present (because it required engagement and effort to stay in the correct position), and free at the same time to let (part of) my mind wander.
When I phrase it like that, though, I realize that I do that twice a day, three days a week, driving between Sherman and Plano – and it’s (at least) forty-five minutes each way, not a mere thirty. Why do yoga when you can drive around?
Something like that, anyway.
It was not, at the time, anything like my commute, despite the fact that the two activities can be described in similar terms. The difference – one of them, anyway, and an important one – is that commuting involves motion, even though the body remains still relative to the vehicle, while the lotus position involves stillness, relative to all of one’s surroundings. I was in the same place when I stood up and tried to walk as I’d been when I sat down and contorted myself into a passable imitation of the Buddha.
That was what made it refreshing: being still, intentionally, consciously. Of course, the kitchen was clean, the towels were folded and put away, Lorna was doing the laundry – so I could justify taking half an hour to not do anything. Sort of, anyway, because there’s always something to do, and never enough time in which to get it all done.
Being uncomfortable just for the sake of being uncomfortable is not a luxury I can afford on a daily basis – which is why I don’t do yoga.