I hope you’ll be pleased to hear that I’m not dead. I thought that I might be before I had a chance to write this week’s blog, but I made it through my stomach flu with only a few pounds lost and a couple bruised shins (don’t ask). Because I was sick from Wednesday night until Saturday afternoon, I got very little yoga class time logged for this week. But I subscribe to the theory that when one practices yoga as intended, yoga is in everything, so I actually got in a lot of extra-curricular yoga on my death bed. I’m going to try to explain…
On Tuesday, I took a yoga class that I didn’t enjoy and I made a short video about it to log my feelings. My original intention was to make it part of today’s blog, but I scrapped that idea. I’m not saying that I was wrong for not liking what happened in class, but I do have a different feeling about the experience. It taught me so much about the kind of teacher that I want to be that I eventually became thankful for the bad experience. And then while writing this I ask if it’s even appropriate to call it a “bad” experience. Probably not. So it ends there. Fifteen minutes of an hour and a half class does not define a class. One day of one week does not define a week. One class/teacher/guru does not define yoga. It’s all part of the tapestry and it’s all as it should be. I’m cool with it, so I’m not including a *mostly* negative video that, at this point, does nothing to accurately describe the real event. The video would have had to be hours long to track the evolution of my feelings. This is yoga. The class, the talking about it afterward, the self-reflection in my quiet time, the sharing with my other classmates and teacher, returning to my mat. This is yoga.
Then I got SICK. Oh my god, I got so sick. At one point I was crying and telling my husband he should just leave me because I was so ugly. I was in a very bad place. The “new age” part of me feels like I got so sick just because I’m in such a vulnerable place in general. This teacher training is so intensely important to me and I’m pouring everything I have (left) into doing it “right”. I feel like my body and spirit are breaking down on a cellular level, leaving every piece of me splayed open for examination – to be poked, prodded, flipped over, and turned upside down. Is it awesome? Totally. Is it hard? Nearly impossible. But I’m into it. Rock on, dissection! I could hardly eat or drink a thing during the 72-hour period which wreaked all kinds of havoc on my energy and emotions. But I’m alive (I’m a lover of drama).
I dragged my pathetic self to teacher training on Saturday because I couldn’t bear to miss what I was sure would be another amazing day of sharing insights and laughing with my classmates – which it was. This week’s theme was practicing aparigraha, and the discussion surrounding it was probably the coolest one we’ve had yet. Everyone had so much to say and there was a common thread traveling through all of our stories. But this experience is universal and we’re becoming so much more comfortable with sharing the details of our lives, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I opened up a lot about the things I hold onto – ideas about myself, other people, other people’s opinions of me… identity. I think I mostly babbled myself into a circle, but in that mess was some clarity for me.
The whole first part of class was a roller coaster of me being so excited to be back to yoga after days of being on a couch and then feeling like I was about to throw up my Jello/granola bar/toast breakfast. A couple down dogs and I was down for the count. I called my husband on a break to tell him not to bring Summer in to nurse and took off for home right after our lunch break. The snow storm was on its way. I was still sick. All I wanted was my couch and pajamas.
Every time I leave yoga, I feel like I’m leaving with a present that I want to share – some new bit of knowledge about yoga or myself or my “situation”. Yesterday I left with presents that were just for me! My classmate, Debbie, made carrot-ginger-garlic-miso-oh-my-god-YUM soup for me to help me to feel better (love), and my teacher gave me a little Tibetan yak bone bracelet to help me to meditate on issues surrounding identity (I need this). I don’t believe in magic, but I believe in the incredible power of intention and paying attention. Sipping my made-with-love soup on the way home and looking at my new bracelet made me feel energized, focused, and warm. I was already starting to feel better. This is yoga.
Five minutes from home, I called my husband to share my brand new insight on a long-standing disagreement that we’ve been having. I had been holding on to my idea of what I thought was right for so long that I hadn’t even considered the fact that we could both be right. It wasn’t even about having two opinions about the same thing. It was that I had to allow for two different things to be completely true at the same time. Both sides were real. Both things are. This is yoga.
I got home with a little food in my belly, still wanting to share my “present” (not the soup or the bracelet… those are ALL MINE). I ate some more, and we watched a silly movie and talked about decorating the new house. I wanted to test out a new pose I had attempted in that Tuesday class that I formerly hated but now have a new appreciation for, so I asked Justin to snap a pic to allow me to check my alignment. And I just did it… like it was nothing. Though my shoulders could use a little tweaking ;)
astavagrasana – eight angle pose
Final takeaway from this week: carrot soup, yak bone bracelets, union with like-minded people, practice, focus, paying attention, taking what you learn on the mat into the world, letting go of old ideas – these things create spaces for big things to happen. This is yoga.
And this is for Laura…