I have come to appreciate the yogic lifestyle and practice; it has become my home.
I cannot say that I have stayed home, that I have stuck to the path of yoga and have complied with the “Do Yoga Every Damn Day” sentiment. I cannot say I have maintained balance either, but I can say I have binge-eaten salt and vinegar chips and miraculously gained seven pounds within two weeks. I can also say that I have chain-smoked a pack of cigarettes without rhyme or reason on a sweltering summer night, choking in white nicotine clouds.
Yogis, therapists, and healers may shake their heads at this. But, however unhealthy a choice may be, inconsistency is the enabler of inculpable change. I am a firm believer in this. I believe in “screwing up” and leaving the cabin of yoga that one has become accustomed to. I encourage you to leave the cabin and dive into the threads of untamed evergreen and blue spruce that surrounds it. You can’t completely escape the untamed world. Go for it.
After finding solace in yoga many years ago, I was never consistent with every nourishing aspect of a yogic lifestyle—but I was never fully inconsistent either. However, that changed recently and, for a time, I did become completely inconsistent in every yogic aspect I had become attuned to. I turned outward. I turned unhealthy.
I rolled out of savasana, left the pack of yogis and became wild, against my nature: techno-infused workouts, reckless drinking, binge-eating fests, responding to the boyfriend-obsessed friend, responding to ghosts of my past via social media and becoming an Internet ghost myself. I turned away from what I knew to be peace and what I knew to be home. An untamed storm of chaos that I had once abandoned by taking refuge in the quilt of yoga.
Today, I returned to yoga.
My return to the sticky, foot-printed mat prompted my return to all other things I love: peppermint tea on hot days, running outside in the frost, the somber acoustics of Dallas Green and writing ferociously and unforgivably in a flowered notebook. I turned inward to a cabin of solitude.
It is feasible to say that turning inward can easily turn into bouts of shutting everyone out, signifying the fear of getting hurt. The fear of having that chance of tasting temporary freedom and then biting into an experience that is bitter, leaving one bruised and encompassed by darkness.
However, interaction—whether it be bitter or blissful or darkening—is central to the human experience. Recognizing this, I now refuse to live in fear. I needed to let go of fear and become wild. But, it is always nice to come home and I know home is there.
Yoga is the cabin I left indefinitely to explore the untamed wilderness. However, the cups of torrential downpour and the sparks of grass fire lost their intrigue and it was time to return home. Time to return to the warmth of the peaceful cabin where blackness no longer prevailed and yellow transpired through windows, shedding light on everything dark outside.
My conclusion—for now—is that experiencing “lack” and encountering inconsistency creates appreciation for what was and for what still is.
We become wiser once we have made numerous trips back and forth between the forbidden fruit and the fortress of solitude. Why stress yourself out because you didn’t drink the beet and kale concoction every morning this past week? Why beat yourself up for perusing Facebook for a few hours? Why beat yourself up for beating yourself up at that boot-camp class?
Live. Make mistakes and enjoy them. Be inconsistent and trapeze out into the wild. Become wise in your inconsistency.
Inconsistency is balance. Inconsistency is living. I choose to live—guilt-free.
Author: Andrea Gunn
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll / Editor: Catherine Monkman