While I was in Montana we did the Mt. Brown Lookout Trail. The most basic trail name had the most strenous climb I’ve ever done. AllTrails labels the trail as hard and warns hikers this is, “generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 7 hours and 18 minutes to complete.” And the reviews left by fellow hikers will warn you just how difficult the climb is.

We hadn’t set out that morning intending to do this hike, but when we ran into a closure for snow on the the other trail we had to detour.

Trekking this trail was one of the most physically challenging adventures I’ve had in a very long time. While climbing this mountain, we encountered some harmless mountain goats, fallen trees, and vast temperature changes that led to a snow-covered ground.

As we tramped on, I found my mind moving quicker than my legs, taking me all kinds of places where I physically wasn’t. I refocused on my breath, keeping my inhales and exhales as steady as I possibly could through my burning lungs. My plantar fasicitis was flaring up with each step I took, my feet reminding me how far we were going. About the half the group decided to turn back at various points, some had cramps, others didn’t want to brace the snow, or just decided enough was enough.

Turning around with them crossed my mind every time one of them turned back. But I thought about how far I had already come and how badly I wanted to see the peak.

About halfway to the top, the phrase, “the body can do anything, it’s the mind you most convince” entered my head. While inhaling I thought, “the body can do anything” and on my exhales I told myself, “it’s the mind you must convince.” This moving meditation kept my feet truding upward and forward.

Although we physically couldn’t summit the tip top of the mountain that day due to the mounds of snow on the ground, I knew my body could have gotten me up there had the elements been kinder. Coming back to my breath and my mantra, I knew I could not only focus my mind, but empower myself in the process while reminding myself that my body can do anything, its my mind I must convince.

Later during the teacher training, when we dug into our meditation lessons we learned about Saguna Mediation.

According to my notes,

“Saguna Meditation is a form of deep reflexive practice in which the yogi concentrates on something perceptible. A common focus in saguna meditation during yoga practice is on the breath, but the focus could also be on a mantra that has significance, a sound, color/energy, or an image. Or simply, a focal point, which is referred to as drishts.”

I hadn’t comprehended that I was guiding myself through a moving meditation while I was climbing the mountain. I was just convincing myself to get to the top.

Now, almost a month since that day, I think about how grateful I am to have gotten the opportunity to cilmb to such a beautiful view. I wish I was back on that trail sweating, panting, and convincing myself to keep moving forward.