Ignorance is not bliss.
I have been doing yoga for nearly 10 years. I eased into all levels to see if I liked it (I loved it) and after a while I bravely took power and Vinyasa and without a doubt, I became a balls-to-the-wall yoga person.
Like everything else in my life I take on the things that interest me in an extreme way. I am a hot/cold, black/white and all or nothing sort of girl. So when I discovered a more intense class that allowed me a release I had never felt before, all I did and have wanted to do since was to repeat it.
I’m also a habitual sort of person where I tend to replicate one day after another. Variety isn’t my thing. I eat the same thing mostly each day, run the same route, even wear the same kind of clothes over and over (I’m comfort over style), so when I find something inexpensive and comfortable and doesn’t make me look too much like a slob I will get two pairs and alternate.
I can see how people might think this is a rut and some days I do feel like I’m in one, but I’m happy with my routine more often than not. I know what I like, and after experiences where trying new things have proven to be complete a fiasco, I err on the side of caution.
My practice is my practice. It is strong and does the trick every time I land on my mat. So when I scroll down my list of yoga to choose from on the online yoga site I skip anything that is gentle, restorative, beginner or level one. I don’t do the meditation classes and know which teachers who describe their classes as “dynamic” are really just offering a slightly more energetic all levels class.
I would stick to what’s tried and true.
But then I got this book about balancing your anxiety with yoga. I work at a library and it came across the desk and naturally caught my attention, at least the yoga part of it. The book is called Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes. I am a highly emotional person and, like my life, my mood swings back and forth like the pendulum, from calm and accomplished to anxious and tense.
Often these feelings vacillate within minutes to hours to days and so on. So with the title hooking me I started reading the intro and next thing I know I’m looking around the house for pillows and blankets because for some reason the wall that I have built up against all that is relaxing and gentle just got a window in it.
This isn’t a book review, but I do recommend it for anyone who deals with a mind that never stops and emotions that veer unpredictably predictable and need to slow down.
I will spare the details of what it covers and just say this: I am grateful to have had this pop into my life when it did. I do believe that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This book is my gateway to slowing down. I need to.
If I continue to go all out in my life, that begins at five a.m. and continues until nine p.m. where I refuse to allow for any sort of relaxation because I don’t feel like I’m getting anything done, I will burn out. In fact, I think my double-ended candle is about to extinguish, so this restorative yoga is my way of attempting to add more wax.
Laying in a position supported by pillows and truly feeling my breath in a way that I haven’t touched upon in any savasana has forced me to confront my thoughts and my beliefs about what is well-being and balanced.
I always knew that balance is vital to a robust and healthy life.
It’s easy to talk the talk but I always push more and go longer and want to be productive all the time. But you just can’t always be in produce mode and then expect to not break down and fall apart completely—on the mat and off.
I said “gateway” before because for me, all I need is one change, one small change in my ironclad routine and that begins the path to a different way of doing things. Of course, that usually just paves the way for the new ironclad routine, but progress is progress.
Even though I’m pretty dead against variety I know it’s good for me nonetheless. So me and my mat with a few pillows are where it’s at when it comes to some self love.
No chaturangas, no downward dog hops into a pathetic attempt at handstand and definitely no need for spandex and sports bras. It’s me and my breath and permission to just be and collect and renew and tune in and be the witness that I should be doing in my regular yoga practice but am usually distracted thinking about straighter arms or reaching my heels or jumping without yanking my shoulder.
It’s like I have an all encompassing yoga practice that is split up into two parts, but still is able to cover everything from the soft and still to the intense and challenging. There is still the third part of me that is wobbly, irate and anxiously depressed but that is still part of who I am. All three parts make the whole me, that which is my mind.
My body and breath will work together to bring the third wheel that is wobbly and irate and anxiously depressed but still part of the team even if it’s a mess most of the time: that which is my mind.
“Be, don’t try.”
Editor: Seychelles Pitton