There’s yoga. And there’s yoga!
There are days I get on my mat and feel totally disconnected. Frustrated and I’d even go as far to say I get bored. Especially these past few weeks with my back playing up like it has. I’m on my mat. Tick. I’m doing the moves. Tick. But am I really connected? Well, not always. Which is what makes mornings like this morning so vastly different and powerful in comparison.
My first forward fold of my practice is generally a good indicator of how my body is going to go that morning. For weeks now the fold has been excruciating, immediately putting me on the defensive. But not this morning. Like the sun finally showing itself after a month long rainfall, my first forward fold was an immediate forehead to shin. Yes, it was a little tight, but the pain was not there. Something had finally shifted. The tension had finally decided to let go.
In a sealed room with no airflow and only the sound of deep, focused inhalations and exhalations, the sweat quickly began to bead around my temples. And it was not too long before my entire body was soaked in sweat as I flowed through my 90 minute led practice. 72 jump backs and jump throughs. My body was bending, twisting, and lifting as though I had no back trouble at all. My mind was focused, my body strong and my intent pure. By the end of practice I was near slipping off my mat and the challenge then became remaining steady on a slippery surface, forcing me to focus even moreso.
This mornings practice was a welcomed reminder of just how clever our bodies are. I talk about acceptance and loving our body as it is, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a struggle for me at times. When I have flare ups like I do (and they are crippling), I can forget how freely I can move when the inflammation settles. How strong and flexible I can be when I am patient. Mornings like this morning leave me pondering questions like – “What is the lesson I can take from these experiences? From pain? From weeks of relentless pain and then suddenly a release?” Well, I think there are many lessons here. The first for me comes down to trust. Trusting my body will right itself in due time. To also trust I am doing the right thing by maintaining my practice even on my worst days, regardless of how gentle the practice needs to be. The second lesson is ‘yoga’ and the true meaning of the word. I didn’t practice yoga in just this mornings class. Rather, every single day, both on and off the mat, is yoga. Yoga = to yolk. The union between body, breath and mind. Pain is a wonderful teacher and it has forced me to take a big step back, a deep look in and accept it for what it is. A fluctuation that I have. And that it (pain) does not have me. This is yoga.
Remember, every moment of every day holds a lesson. We just need to take the time to pause, witness and reflect.
Sending happy, slightly more enlightened hugs to you all,