March 12, 2014

Bittersweet Yoga: I Want to Schedule Breakthroughs. ~ Carolyn Riker.

Chris Chavez - Spanish Banks Yoga Class - 34

I’m feeling semi-bitter, like baking-chocolate. Refined. Untainted. The raw in a cacao bean.

I’m also at a crossroad with yoga.

“I am conflicted,” as my teen would say over a decision, mood, or choice of nail polish. It is interesting how perspective and age plays into the word conflicted.

Right now, I am conflicted with yoga. Yoga is bittersweet.

And with that loaded statement, I create excuses to avoid my feelings.

 It’s too far to drive.
• Classes are too early or too late.
 I should be doing [fill in the endless blank] but instead, I fart around on Facebook.

But these are superficial tidbits of bullshit. The real issues go deeper.

I have made yoga into a complicated, knotted mess.

I have made it into a mini competition and compare myself to others. Everyone else looked so peaceful and calm. I yawn. I want to sleep. Or throw a bolster through the window. The instructor’s voice scratches my skin from the inside out. People breathe too loud. The simpler the move the harder it is.

I also focus on what I can’t do versus what I can doScratch the surface a bit more and I listen… I thought I was the spontaneous type, but the truth is, I want to schedule my personal breakthroughs.

I declare:  

From nine til noon I can let go, fall apart and by 12:02 pm, that puffy-faced, red-eyed, teary, snot-stuff will be gone.

My contacts lenses won’t feel like sandpaper. I can resume quasi-normal-hood and appear semi-organized and slightly professional. I can switch immediately into teacher-tutor or writer-mode. The flan is in the oven and the soufflé is complete. I will find matching socks next to my cape of courage and check-from my to-do list:

I accomplished letting go.

It doesn’t work that way.

Yoga can cause me to shake and quiver from the inside out. The physical earthquakes meet the emotional tectonic plates and layers do a swishy-swishy—hell.

Yoga unravels me. It terrifies me.

I have meltdowns of panic and anxiety as I worry about the sequence. I dread certain poses and immediately connect to my bladder. I have to pee. I daydream of leaving the class but realize my chameleon green mat would benefit Shavasana—without me.

Breakthroughs are rarely timely in the ordinary scheme of things.

I laugh, kindly at myself. Even an eye roll too as I realize:

Yoga is a perpetual process of shedding the ego, facing fears, finding self-love, giving and receiving.

Which brings me back to this moment when I don’t want to go to a class or get back to my routine. I must sidestep the excuses. I know it’s time to go a bit deeper.

• There’s no need to compare my practice.
• What I’m doing right now is perfectly good. It is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Just the fact that I recognizing this is beautiful!

• I will listen to my breathing to find balance.
• I will breathe in compassion and exhale all the sticky tar stuff of conflicted.

And… Sign off from here. My chameleon green mat is waiting and changing colors to compliment my continued growth.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: elephant journal archives

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