My practice is an escape. From long to-do lists. From sights and sounds of city life. It’s a time when I can connect with my body. As a former dancer, I used my body to tell stories, to connect with others. One of my favorite parts of class was stretching for ten minutes at the beginning. I never considered why I enjoyed it or what those quiet moments did for me.
Yoga allows me to feel my body. To recognize pain and redirect it, both physically and mentally. It makes me reflect on what I might have done to cause that pain or discomfort and what I need to do in the future to prevent it. The older you get, it seems the more pain you have—not just physical, emotional too.
Yoga sometimes brings out old phantasms that you thought you’d locked away in a deep, dark Poe-esque Tell-Tale-Heart floorboards. It comes knocking when you least expect it and completely shatters your sense of strength. It is part of the process; understanding your pain, both the mental and the physical—you have to work through that shit. Sometimes that means I have to sit with myself. Sometimes that means child’s pose is all I am up for that day. Sometimes that means I feel my body blazing and go full-blown phoenix, ready to work through a fast-paced flow. In that flow, I am on fire. I feel strong. I feel independent. I feel like I can do all the things –oops wait, lost my balance…maybe not all the things, there’s certainly a reality check here and there, which is grounding in its own right.
My yoga practice isn’t perfect pictures on Instagram. It isn’t my friends and I all lying in a circle on some bohemian blanket with our heads surrounded by crystals. It’s real. It’s truth. It’s painful. It’s present. But most of all, it’s necessary.
This is stemming from my avoidance of the mat lately. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a College & Career Counselor, which means that October, my once beloved “let’s get spooky month” is no longer my favorite (until the 31st…everything changes on Halloween!). Early deadlines, scholarship applications, students and parents who need my help with FAFSA, thirty-minute back-to-back appointments with my seniors all day, every day. This is when I need yoga the most. I know it. I tell myself that every morning. Every lunch break. Every day when I get home. Every evening when I finish dinner. I look at local studios and classes. I stare at Yoga with Adriene’s calendar (she’s awesome if you don’t know her, check her out), but my desire and ability to go inward is met with me feeling like the skeletons covering lawns right now. Vapid. Empty. Broken.
I am an empath and a giver. I am the most happy when I do things for other people, which is something I’ve slowly tried to reverse with my yoga practice. It’s hard to learn to find your own happiness; sometimes it’s incredibly hard to make time to do so. So I’m writing this here and now to make myself more accountable…I’m going to make time for meditation and yoga. I’ve been auditioning to teach, but I also need to delve back into my own practice to be the best teacher possible if I am hired in the near future.
I’m also writing this to let you know, you are not alone. No person’s yoga practice (or writing routine, which is another thing I’ve been neglecting) is “perfect.” For me, my routine ebbs and flows…and right now, all I’m trying to do is find more of the flow in both the keys on my keyboard and on my mat.