Monday, November 14, 2011

My Imperfect Practice

I took a trip to visit my in-laws for the weekend out of town. My sister in law lives right near a beautiful yoga studio, and I always try to take a class whenever I stay with her.

For me, going to yoga is like catching up with an old friend – I always am so happy I did it, and I vow it has been too long, and insist I need to do it more often. But, just like keeping in touch with a friend, sometimes life gets in the way.
I am faced with daily reminders why it is so important to stay in tune with my body. Although I have made fitness an important part of my life – sometimes I only have time to squeeze in a half hour. For me, I need to make that half hour count – it must be packed full of cardio goodness, and leave me feeling sculpted and strong. Sometimes, a few sun salutations don’t cut it.

Throughout the hour and a half of my class, I listen to the yoga instructor share those deep yoga thoughts that always speak right to my soul at the moment. I try to drink them in like a beautiful sunset, but moments later, the words fade into the white noise of my worrisome thoughts.

“You can’t plan ahead of time for what you will work on in yoga,” she said, “Sometimes, you don’t even know what you have to work on, until you get onto the mat.”

She was right. I did not really have a plan for that class except “to get a workout in”.

I did not know how much I would relish the breathing that day. The slow, methodical movements of my chataranga over the powerful, sweat-craving determination I have towards many of my workouts. I did not force myself into the asanas. I glided through them with as much grace and humility as I could muster.

She read from Meditations On the Mat, about how we often confuse humility with humiliation. Admitting we need help at times is hard for us. When the instructor handed me a block to help me as I trembled through my triangle pose, I accepted it graciously.

In the past, that would have been a humiliating moment for me. A moment where a negative thought process would have eaten through me, screeching that someone, somewhere, thinks that I am WEAK.

Weakness has been a theme for me for a long time. I beat myself up for not being able to juggle it all. For not having the time to clean. To cook perfect meals for my family. To carve out more time to work out every part of my body and my mind thoroughly. This catch as catch can lifestyle is tricky at times. I see admiration in people’s eyes when they marvel at how much I accomplish. I can’t look back at them, because my eyes would tell them “If you only knew how much I do NOT accomplish.”

These are the thoughts I don’t have time to access. These are the thoughts that greet me when I take enough time to breathe. To glide. To flow. And they are not bad thoughts. They are not as scary as they used to be.

I guess this may be because humility has begun to take over. Humiliation had such a comfy rent free space in my brain, that I started to assume it was a regular part of my thinking.

I can run the crazy away. I can lift weights and create that nice definition in my arms that I dream of. But there is a space inside of me that still has room to grow. That Small space is begging for my attention to make it stronger. To flourish inside of me.

In that space, there is a forgiveness that is starting to blossom like a tiny rose, reminding me that I am not perfect. And in that small bud of imperfection, I can find a world of possibility.

I just need to allow myself a moment, at least once in a while, to reach out and remember it is there.

Like that old friend.

Always there, ready to pick up the conversation where we left off.

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