March 18, 2014

Getting Back on the Yoga Wagon.


I fell off the yoga wagon.

I tried hanging on, I really did. I skated through the holidays with a spotty yet somewhat consistent practice. I set resolutions that were not specific, but that I would do things that made me feel good this year and one of those things was yoga.

Looking back, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly kept me coming back week after week since I wasn’t very good. I would watch in awe as people would go up in headstand or hang upside down from wall ropes. I would sit wide-eyed when my instructor demonstrated a pose, thinking: Good Lord my body can’t do that. And then I would do it. Well, at least I would do a version of it but it was enough to keep me hooked and coming back for more.

But what really made me fall head over heels in love with yoga was how it challenged so many different parts of me in ways I couldn’t imagine. It was like if I could walk away unscathed, then I could walk away from other things—I could face life when it was hard. At least a version of it anyway.

Then the obstacles started throwing themselves in my path and I veered off—hard. We have been having a really cold and brutal winter. It’s the kind of weather that causes pile ups on the highway and deadly crashes. It’s the kind of winter that the weather forecasters warn us to stay indoors unless we have to absolutely go out. My kids have gotten to a record number of snow days and most of us feel beat down like we haven’t in years.

Our schedules have gotten squeezed into pockets of time when life returns to a somewhat normal state only to be thrown off course again and again. I find myself getting sucked into social media, television, books and my iPhone. I drag myself out of bed from one activity to the next only to be wishing to be anywhere else but where I am and complaining every chance I get.

Wow—talk about falling off the wagon.

So this week I realize that maybe I need to get back to at least a small practice. Go in easy and slow, I think. Be gentle. Unable to attend my regular class at the studio due to time constraints and scheduling, I follow along to a yoga program I have recorded on our DVR. And this is what it is.

Hello body, again. I’m so sorry I have neglected you. I feel it in my hamstrings and upper back. My hips protest and tell me to go easy and my arms shake and warn they won’t hold me up.

It is here that I realize that yoga has yet again taught me an important life lesson. We can derail. We can fall off our path. We can lose sight of why we started in the first place.

We can choose to start again.

Slowly and carefully I am creeping back into a practice. I wake again every morning with sore muscles and achey joints and rediscover what it is like to feel again. I push back the thoughts that tell me to do it tomorrow or that I am too tired.

Bit by bit the rebuilding of a foundation starts.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

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