That quote I posted just a few days ago about being happy right now instead of having "destination addiction," is what I'm talking about here, believe it or not. In a lot of ways, I've
overcome that addiction. For example, I no longer feel like I have to get my masters degree or PhD to consider myself successful. (That one took a while to get over). I don't feel like I have to have 100 extracurricular activities to
be happy. I am so happy where I am living and thankful for what I am doing for work and how much money I make. I take time as it comes now, too: sometimes when people ask me what I have going on that day, I literally have no idea how to answer, because I don't know until I'm doing it. So in one regard, I've really come far. I even felt proud of myself posting
that quote, knowing that I have overcome a great deal of these issues.
In my arrogance, I failed to see my shortcomings.
I remember, several years ago, when I first got into
running. I HATED going to the gym because I didn't want anyone looking at me. It was embarrassing to walk in there with all those fit, athletic people when I was frumped out in my shoddy gym clothes and giant tshirts, trying to conceal my body from the rest of the world. But
eventually my running became about me. I
began to focus on what was going on in my body and in my mind instead of all the extra stuff. Running became an activity of refuge for me. In other words, it stopped having to do with
anybody else besides me.
So today when I went in to yoga, I told myself
that today's mantra is underachieve. Even if I felt like I could do more, I promised myself that I would take it easy. And what happened? Best. yoga. class. ever. I actually HEARD my body say "enough" when it was enough. I focused on my breathing, I took my time in getting into each stance. I looked at my feet for an extra second and made sure they were secure before moving on. I suppressed the competitor inside me that said to stretch further,
stretch as far as I could go. In the space left behind, where competition once was, I made sure I didn't hold my breath and I checked to make sure that I was practicing Uddhyana Bandha (fancy word for pelvic tuck). It was really wonderful. I could feel the space opening up in my life and in my mind. And when it was time to cool down, to lay back on my mat and feel grateful for my class, I heard
a tiny, tiny whispering voice say, "thank you." Tears started to roll down my face.
This amazing body I've been given, that has survived cancer, that I injected with what felt like poison, that ate nothing but waffles for days on end when everything else tasted like battery acid; this body that swam in stock tanks as a child and rolled in hay fields, ran through rows of sunflowers and rode horses in the summer sun for weeks; this body that sustained me through countless all-nighters in college, as well as nights of endless dancing and singing, and drinking binges that would put pirates to shame; this body that I continually hate, and I mean HATE
because it is not thinner; this poor, poor body that has done me so right for all these years: I finally felt a deep and appreciative love for it. I felt, for an instant, unconditional love for it. I saw in my mind's eye how beautiful it is, how unflinchingly reliable and perfect it is. Perfect.
I waited a long time with that feeling. Perfect. I breathed it in, drank it, tasted it in my mouth and throat. Perfect. I felt it in my chest like radiating warmth. In all my flaws, I am still so perfect.
I love those feelings. When class was over and I couldn't wait to come home to tell you all about it. To tell you that you are perfect.
This is why I heart yoga. And why eventually I'm going to have to admit that my job is not letting me listen to my body.
Perhaps tomorrow's yoga practice will help me figure out what to do about that. Or maybe not! Ha!
Tips for yoginners (is this a word?) that I've learned this last month:
1. Yoginis: you don't really need a sports bra for yoga. I was wearing one just by habit because,
obviously, I always wear one when I work out. But I found it was really just putting a lot of extra pressure on my shoulders when I don't need that kind of support for this type of workout.
2. If you're getting headaches during yoga, try different areas of the room. I have found if I place my mat near a door, or away from the majority of the group, I don't get as hot, and don't get headaches.
3. You might also try using Gatorade or Emergen-C in your water if you're getting headaches. It may be that you're just needing a boost of electrolytes to get you through the first few classes.
4. If you're competitive like me, placing your mat away from the group may also help you focus on your body and not if you're right in step with everyone else in the room. I even intentionally close my eyes or focus straight ahead sometimes so I don't try to compete.
5. As someone once told me, keep an open mind and keep going back until you really know whether it's for you or not. If it's for you, you'll be so glad you did!