Put Your Yoga Where Your Mouth Is. ~ Paula Carrasquillo
“You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late, and never too sick to start from the scratch once again.” ~ Bikram Choudhury
I absolutely believe Bikram’s words to be true and repeat the above quote a lot on my social media status updates and with friends.
As a result of my wonderful yoga experiences, I tell everyone I know and meet about the healing and strengthening powers of yoga.
Most people seem genuinely interested in learning more, but few have actually taken me on my word and tried yoga for themselves. The few who have tried all agreed that their experience was positive and left an impression. They were thankful for all of my talk about yoga.
So, when I learned a few weeks ago that I would be laid off from my job, I put my talk to the test: could I persuade myself to not give up and “to start from the scratch again?”
There is absolutely nothing more humiliating than losing your job. I worked for a Federal contractor and knew the reality of contract work: nothing is guaranteed beyond the initial contract period. I was given a two-day notice that I would be losing my job; I was devastated.
I drove home that evening feeling like a complete failure and wondered if there was something I could have done that would have helped extend the contract. There was nothing. I did my job. I did my job well. The end of the contract was the end of the contract. It had nothing to do with my performance.
The worst part of that evening was breaking the news to my husband; we had just purchased and moved into a new home a month before, and the last thing I wanted to do was let my husband down at this early stage in our mortgage responsibilities.
Fortunately, he took it well and reassured me I will find a new job in record time. He said to me, “You’ve got skills, Baby. No worries.”
But I worried. I sat down and figured out a budget and what bills I needed to pay and which ones I could defer. On paper, things looked a bit bleak. I stepped away and decided to go to an eight p.m. yoga class—if there was one expense I didn’t mind paying, it was my monthly yoga membership.
Arriving at the studio, I decided to choose a spot in a corner of the room I normally avoided, because I always thought it looked too hot. (I know—it’s Bikram—every spot is too hot.) I did my pre-practice warm up and took a quick sip of water before the instructor entered.
Transitioning through the 26 postures, I thought a lot about being unemployed; I thought about how much of a loser I was and wondered how I was ever going to get a job fast enough in this economy and job market.
I was really beating myself up during this practice.
I took many savasanas and opted out of the second set for each of the balancing postures. I kept thinking that my practice was suffering along with my career; all of the self-esteem I had built and gained over the past 10 months was quickly dissipating in less than 10 hours! Where was my mind going? And how could it go there in the yoga room?
The final savasana arrived. I lay there on my back, with my body stretched out and my eyes closed. I may have looked relaxed, but I was anything but relaxed. The instructor sweetly repeated the words he always repeats at the end of his class:
“Feel free to take what you need and leave behind what you don’t need.”
In the instant those words hit my ears, I knew I had to let go of the negative thinking that had been consuming me; I needed to gain a positive attitude and leave behind the bad one. I had to start from “the scratch,” and “the scratch” just happened to be the last savasana of the evening.
I was okay with that.
I left the yoga feeling less stressed and renewed—I was ready to be jobless and do what needed to be done to land a new position.
I practiced yoga sporadically; I went during the morning and early afternoon, times I normally wouldn’t have practiced while working. If I had an interview scheduled, I went to class before the interview.
A few weeks later, I started a new job…I barely had an opportunity to collect unemployment!
During those weeks of job searching, I put my yoga practice where my mouth is, which allowed me to ease my stress and be reminded of what’s most important to my family and me—our health and happiness.
With those two things, anything can be accomplished.
Paula Carrasquillo is an active yogi, author, and advocate who has lived in numerous watersheds throughout the United States, including Colorado, Maine, Maryland and New Mexico. She currently lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Paula is passionate about her family, friends and the motivational and brave people she meets daily through her online writing and social media exchanges. To Paula, every person, place, thing, idea and feeling she encounters is significant and meaningful, even those which she most wants to forget. Follow Paula on Twitter and on her blog.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise