Sunday, January 26, 2014

6:49 PM
Enjoying a New Perspective
For the last 26 days (save one where I had the stomach flu and was relegated to bed all day) I have practiced yoga every day, at least once a day. This commitment to a sustained yoga practice in January 2014 was the start of my year-long Fitness Project journey. As I wrote the other day, I feel like I have mostly floated through this month in a pretty blissed out state. Despite some stress and uncertainty at work and at home, nothing has gotten me too far down off the cloud of ommmmmm...

In reflection of what this month's experience has meant to me so far, I keep coming back to the following things: 

  • The Splits Ain't Gonna Happen and That is OK. In my head I was going to be able to drop into the splits easily on both sides by the end of this month, like in the days of old. After trying and re-aggravating a long-dormant hamstring injury I realized pretty early on that that was not to be. Similarly, I realized fairly quickly that without literally bending my life in half, I would not be able to make it to some of the more gimmicky classes I wanted to try (SUP yoga, for instance) or to make it to some of the most challenging and inversion-focused classes. Thus, as was more appropriate anyways, this month became less about what I would be able to DO by the end of the month, and all about how I would FEEL. All and all, I think that was a much better place to land, and made for a much healthier and stress-free journey. Namaste.
  • Going Upside Down Is Just Another Perspective. One of the beautiful things about yoga is the sense of play it awakens in all of us. We leave our grownup lives behind us at the studio door. On our mats we become wide-eyed and open-minded students again, youthful in our movements. Suddenly we find ourselves going upside down, balancing and falling, rolling around on the floor, laughing and occasionally even farting. It is such a beautiful release to give ourselves the permission to act, breathe and move freely. It is no wonder that we come out of those rooms energized, refreshed and bursting with creativity. Through the practice of yoga we allow ourselves to find and nurture our inner child. Namaste.
  • There IS Room for What you Want in Each Day. The benefit of a streak is found in the commitment to self. There is real value in the exercise of setting an intention for a day, week, month or year and then prioritizing that intention, not at the expense of others or the rest of your life, but enough that it rises to the level of fitting in. If a firm commitment hasn't been made, it is too easy to set something aside, to pick it up "tomorrow" or "later" as in "never". Some days my yoga practice happened in a beautiful studio. Some days it happened late at night in the solitude of my home. One day it happened on a towel in the crappy locker room at work between meetings. But for almost a month now it always happened, and for that I am grateful. Namaste.
  • Heart Opening is no Easy Thing. As I wrote in an earlier post, one of the hardest things I did this month was attend a yoga workshop on "Tending your Heartfire". Metaphysical discussions aside, it was the core recognition of how much I had drawn inward, protecting and isolating my heart, that struck a deep chord. I think it is no coincidence that back bends are one of the hardest poses for me and the ones that I feel most deeply the following day. There have been no earth shattering moments since the workshop, but I do feel a more quiet sense of purpose and am more cognizant of how I react to various situations and how I treat those around me. This is not easy - this living with a heart thing. Namaste.
  • Teaching is a Gift That Should be Celebrated. My parents were both teachers and so I know from first-hand experience how an amazing teacher can change a child's life. I see the same thing play out on a yoga mat all the time. Taking a class from a skilled yoga instructor can be a game changer. I deeply respect those that have the skill, discipline, humor, and patience to be great yoga instructors. You inspire all of us, on and off of the mat. Namaste.
  • Bikram is Hard Work, Vinyasa is Hard Play. Just consider the different language the teachers use: In Bikram you get told to "Push, push, push beyond your flexibility!". In Vinyasa you are encouraged: "Be open to the possibility that you can go deeper." In Bikram people may be gasping or fainting or gagging, but no one, it seems, ever laughs. In Vinyasa there is a real possibility in every class that people will giggle and even laugh big, deep belly laughs. I appreciate the experience and challenge of many styles of yoga, and each have their place. I just know where the heart of my practice lies. Namaste.
  • This is Me. I spent a lot of time looking at myself this month, in the mirror and from all angles in different asanas. By my hundredth downward dog I got to really appreciate the crepey folds of my two-baby belly. In all backbends and standing poses the third eye of my now-outy (i.e., herniated abdomen) belly button winked at me. It was a challenge to not grimace at the imperfections that I usually avoid by not looking. But if these things were impossible to ignore, I found that in the end it was possible to withhold judgement. It may not be as far as complete self-acceptance, but it is a long way from self-loathing. Namaste
  • Stress Can Be Managed. Even though things have been as nutty as usual around here, with augmented work-related stress, the minutes and hours that I have dedicated to the "present" in the form of asanas or simply mindful breathing has definitely made everything feel somehow manageable. I have slept deeply and restfully every night and have been amazed out how even keel I have felt despite setbacks or challenges. The stress-relieving benefits of yoga are well studied and known, it was just amazing to experience them. Namaste.
  • The More I Did, The More I Wanted to Do. I am not gonna lie - come February it is going to be hard to say goodbye to yoga for the next year or so ("cheat days" excepted). I feel like parts of me are just starting to unwind and everywhere I look I see a class, workshop or new style of yoga that I want to try. What gives me comfort is that I know in 2015 I will be able to come back to this level of practice if that is what I choose. What I also know is that my wallet is going to thank me for a little yoga hiatus - It may be soooo good, but it can also be expensive. Namaste for Yogaglo!

So up next it is all about High-Intensity Interval Training - about as heart-pumping, music throbbing far away as you can get from yoga. Bam!... and namaste.

To learn more about my Fitness Project, please contact me at mommytasker@gmail.com,MommyTasker.com, or connect with me on Facebook.

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