Accepting What Is.

Via on Dec 11, 2010

He sits there in the corner. Watching me as I rush by, getting kids fed and dressed and taxiing them to their various daily destinations. He never complains, only patiently waits for my attention. Sometimes days, or even a week go by, without me bothering to do stop, even for a minute, to make room in my life for him. Because he knows that I will come back and when I do, with the utmost attention and fondness. So he waits, quietly, peacefully.

He is my yoga mat. Why he and not she? Perhaps he is the yang to my yin.

Sometimes I long for the days when my free time wasn’t so precious. Oh the glorious indulgence of ninety minutes to breathe and move without interruption! Not to mention the hard-won investment that would be an actual yoga class.

So I find ways, here and there, to practice. I get creative with distracting the kids with projects or tasks. But it’s so fleeting. Painfully so.

A friend of mine, recently asked me, in regards to this very sentiment:

You were describing how much you longed for twenty minutes of free time yesterday (while baby kept himself busy) so you could practice yoga. And I thought: I have free time–why don’t I practice more on my own? And the truth is that while I always feel good and enjoy going to a yoga class, I almost never get myself to practice on my own. Why? It isn’t that I don’t know poses or couldn’t do something–and I do occasionally. But you clearly “hunger” for it–need it–long for it. And you make the time to do it even when you are busy. I know other people who do the same. But why don’t I or others like me? Where does the drive or the discipline to create space for practice come from?

Truth be told, there are many times I have opportunity to practice that I don’t take advantage of. There is always so much to do when you’re a busy mother of three. But after so long, I have a nagging whisper in the back of my mind. A reminder, a pleading. Please, please practice.

I feel it in my hamstrings, in my hips, my tight jaw and lately, my psoas. My body hurts, my mind is scattered, I’m irritable and I don’t sleep well. I notice how, well, crappy I feel without yoga.

In response to my friend’s question, I can only respond: after so many years of disciplined practice, I simply notice the difference. My practice is an investment that I make in myself. It’s a time when I nurture myself, when so often, all of my energy is going toward nurturing others. When I do finally make the time, I am so much better able to care for others. That is the paradox of yoga, we can only take care of others, have compassion for others, when we take care of and have compassion for ourselves.

Everyone has twenty minutes in their day. Everyone. It’s not that the practice will find you, so much as you have to make time to find the practice. Sometimes I get on my mat and I can’t find the will to drag myself through more than a few rounds of sun salutations. Perhaps that time is better spent in restorative yoga. Other times I find myself conquering poses that I’ve only found challenging. Whichever it is, practice is practice.

So set yourself a time. Preferably a devoted time slot each day, to get on your mat. Step on to it and sit. Breathe. See where the practice leads you and practice unattachment to the results. But do this each day, do it when you feel great, do it when you don’t feel great. Over time, you’ll find you’re looking forward to your daily date with your yoga mat as well.

And lastly, don’t beat yourself up about the days you don’t get there. That’s part of yoga too; accepting what is at that moment. To be fully present in your life, without being preoccupied by what you’re missing, or getting caught up in your constant inner dialogue.  Yoga tells us to move from equanimity in all things.

Becoming a mother taught me more about yoga, in some ways, than a teacher ever did. It taught me to savor what I can, the yoga of doing dishes and cuddling with sleepy babes. Because my mat is still there, and will always be, when I am ready to come back to it.

About Candice Garrett

Candice Garrett is a yoga teacher, writer, foodie and mother of three from Monterey, California. She is author of "Prenatal Yoga: Finding Movement in Fullness," assistant to Female Pelvic Floor Goddess Leslie Howard and director of the Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga teacher training program. Candice teaches yoga, prenatal yoga and pelvic health with workshops nationally. You can find her teaching schedule at Candice Garrett Yoga or her love of food at The Yogic Kitchen

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9 Responses to “Accepting What Is.”

  1. Alan Haffa says:

    I am going to try to pick a time and see what happens.

  2. Love this – it rings true for so many of us!

  3. Great advice, Candice.

    You know I didn't have any problem at all with having time to do Yoga until I took up this darned new job at Elephant Journal. Now I'm overloaded just like everyone else! (And loving it, by the way.)

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  4. Lovely! Giving myself permission to just carve out 15-20 min. for practice every day has made a huge difference for me!

  5. candicegarrett says:

    Yes Kathi! You've nailed it: guilt. But whose judging you? You. I have lived, continue to live, that very sentiment. I love what you say, every challenge is an opportunity for growth.

  6. I love the way you put a real-life spin on some words of wisdom I learned years ago in a workshop with David Williams – "A little yoga a lot is better than a lot of yoga a little." Finding our 20-minutes-of-yoga each day can be enough to carry us through even this nutty, holiday-filled month!

  7. Tandy Benedetto says:

    It is very difficult to read and understand your comments. Can you please use capital letters at the beginning of each sentence and use comma’s and spaces where applicable ? Would be great.

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