After practicing yoga sporadically over the past ten years (with gaps of years rather than weeks or months), I have committed myself to a daily yoga practice for 40 days. I am a little more than halfway through to my goal. I have practiced (at least one hour of) heated power yoga twenty three out of the last twenty five days.
I feel strong in my body for the first time in forever. When I wake up in the morning, I can actually feel myself solidly present in my body, before my mind starts to greet the day with a list of who, what, where and when.
What I have finally embraced is the fact that yoga is not just a workout, but a spiritual practice. I don’t mean spiritual in the sense of being connected to any certain religion, but in the sense that it involves one’s own spirit – one’s own connection to our inner being, as well as how we connect with everyone and everything around us.
There are things a good yoga teacher will teach you that apply not only to what is happening in the moment on our mat, but also in life.
As they say, it is called a yoga Practice, not a Perfect. Sometimes you just have to laugh…
Today I was practicing in a room full of people, and I was in the far back corner. We were holding a pose that required us to twist our bodies in the direction of the corner of the room in which I was positioned. So while we were in this pose, I could not see anyone else – even in my periphery – only the wall.
It was the type of pose in which after holding it for a while, my leg muscles burn, and I start saying some really nasty things to my teacher in my head. (It’s okay – not only does she know exactly what I am saying to her telepathically, but she loves me anyway).
There I was, holding this pose for what seemed like an eternity. I was cursing up a storm in my head, so mad at her for doing this to me. So caught up was I in this story in my head that I did not even notice she had called not one, but two other poses while I was holding that one twist.
Eventually I realized that everyone else had moved on, while I in my blind corner, wallowing in my story of teacher brutality, did not even notice that I was suffering alone in a hell entirely of my own making.
I had to laugh…
How often do we do this to ourselves in life? We get stuck somewhere – in a place, or an idea – so focused are we on our suffering that we fail to notice that we do not need to be there anymore.
We lose sight of the fact that we are free to move on.
In class she also talks about when we land in a pose that starts to feel uncomfortable, how important it is to pay attention to that feeling, and to stay when we want to flee. They say the discomfort is where the real work happens. Not pain, mind you, but the discomfort or fear that comes when you push yourself beyond the boundaries of where you thought you could go with your mind and your body.
She draws parallels to life – that when uncomfortable feelings come up…that is when we need to stay and work through them.
These are the lessons.
For me I see this fear and discomfort come up around romantic relationships. I hold when I should let go, and run when perhaps I should stay. I know that the first step to change is awareness.
So – yay for me! –
If you’re fucked up and you know it….clap your hands!
I joke, but I am actually holding my own shortcomings with grace these days. I know getting here, to this challenging place around relationships, was not a slow journey…so much has happened to land me here. I think it is fair to say that unraveling from it all will take time.
I know that moving forward, my challenge is to discern between the times when it benefits me to stay (in order to stretch myself and grow) when my inclination is to flee, and the times when I am staying far longer than is useful, simply because of the illusion that I don’t have a choice.
I just have to practice being still enough to listen to myself…and sometimes, I have to get out of my own head long enough to have an awareness of what is truly going on around me.
Stillness. Awareness. Grace. Strength. Humor.
Yoga is helping me practice them all.