Yoga changed my life.
I started doing it by accident. A good friend had been through a bad breakup and came to stay with me for a while, and in her post-breakup haze, we went everywhere together.
She was a dancer.
I was never quite sure who I was.
When she was ready to go back to her dance class, she asked me to go with her.
During the warm-up, we did some simple asanas (yoga poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises), as well as a bit of meditation. Through these simple practices, I found myself in a place that I had not been to before.
A place of calm.
A place of peace.
A place of acceptance.
The dance class eventually stopped. My friend got herself together and moved to Lisbon, and I got myself together and found a yoga class. I bought a monthly pass and went whenever I could. I practiced at home every day.
I had time.
The previous summer I had suffered from anxiety so bad that for a while, I wouldn’t go outside alone. I had slowly pulled myself out of it, but my life still carried traces of it. The new calm of mind that came with doing yoga made the anxiety go far away.
So I kept going.
It didn’t matter if I’d had a late night, or if I was tired. I did my yoga. Every day.
It changed me deep inside, changed the way I looked at things, the way I handled situations, the way I breathed. I practiced every day right up until I was heavily pregnant with my first child.
I had time.
Fast-forward and almost 10 years have passed. I’m now a mother with two beautiful young boys. My relationship with yoga has changed. I haven’t been to a class for a long time. For now, I only do self-practice.
When I have time.
In that free time, there are big things that need to be done and little things that fight for my attention in the gaps of time that are left in-between them.
Sometimes, yoga wins the priority battle and balances itself at the top. Yet other times, too much time will go by without it…and I start drowning again, before remembering to breathe. For it to be a daily practice seems like an impossible goal.
Where is the time? I ask myself.
The answer comes to me almost straight away.
It was always there.
There is time in each moment.
So, I take a little time from each moment.
This morning, whilst waiting for the kids to put their shoes on, I did a standing forward bend. Diving into the movement, I released my whole upper body and let the strength of my legs support me.
After work, I had to put the shopping away. First, I put my arms behind my back and stretched them to the ceiling.
I lose myself in that stretch. Breathe in deep and slow. Breathe out all the tension.
While cooking dinner, I did some balancing poses.
Vrksasana (tree pose) is my favorite.
Standing in the kitchen, I don’t need my mat to balance. I just need to breathe and focus on the moment.
Stay in the moment.
Later on I’m writing.
Apparently, when you are looking at a screen, you should take a break every 20 minutes, so I’m trying to take five minutes to do one asana (yoga pose) every 20 minutes.
Trying to. We all know how time can play with us when we are writing.
I decided to let go of striving toward a perfect goal.
I let go of telling myself I must complete a half-hour practice every day.
I let go of the idea that I must lie in savasana for 15 minutes after every session.
I let go of “the rules.”
Yoga doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Our practice can be what we can do or all we can do…because yoga is not just something we do, but a way of living.
Now and then, I manage a long, beautiful session. A rainy Sunday not long ago while the kids were playing on their tablets. A random night last week when I abandoned all of my household responsibilities and took an hour for myself while the kids ate dinner.
At my boyfriend’s house, I told him I needed an hour for myself, stole his yoga mat, and ran upstairs.
I’ve decided to let go.
Let go of the pressure I put on myself to do everything “right” and just do what I can. Let go of thinking that I’m not doing enough and accept what I do.
Let go of all my expectations and breathe.
And suddenly, I find I have time.