I thought a lot about the value of writing about my newfound relationship with yoga. I know, I know– a blog about yet another basic white girl from Uptown Minneapolis with a yoga mat. Ground breaking stuff, huh?
I'm writing to you having just moments ago finished my fourth class. Four hours of my life have been spent in the last week doing yoga. In positions that made me, quite honestly, sweat, fart, and heavy breathe. My palms are a hot mess of knots and soreness from downward dog, as if the keyboard-based carpel tunnel I am gunning for isn't already enough. When I got to yoga tonight, I had just finished caucusing (yay democracy!), and was feeling anxious about all the things I need to do this week. I knew I was essentially slipping in sideways mentally to my candlelight yoga, and I kept trying to tell myself 'get grounded, let go, allow'. My efforts to calm myself were about as helpful as a man telling his wife to breathe during labor. For most of yoga tonight, I felt like I was going through the motions, not connected to my body, not giving myself love, and not allowing myself to let go. But then, in the last ten minutes of class, I shifted. I forgot about what I was trying to do. My brain changed. I was no longer this frenetic energy, but instead, I was grounded. This, to varying degrees, has been my experience in each yoga class.
I finally understand yoga, you guys.
Tonight's class was absolutely the hardest night for me mentally. It's almost as if the physical part is secondary. I don't care if I can or cannot do the positions correctly. I'm all about taking breaks, modifications, and I totally laugh at some of the things I can't do. (I'm looking at you, lace-your-fingers-behind-your-back.) I go to yoga to for one thing: to connect with myself. When I leave, I am awash in appreciation for my body. I feel centered. It's magical.
Yoga was decidedly not my thing. Until it was... Is. I had a narrative in my head about yoga that told me that it's for skinny limber women with toned arms and great abs and I'll hate it and feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. So much useless shame talking there. (And by the way, it is for skinny limber women with toned arms and great abs. It's also for petite large gals with short arms.) When I changed my goal for yoga from weight loss to connection, it all shifted. That plus a groupon, and I was ready for a yoga revolution. I do not take myself seriously in there. I pick my wedgies. I take a breather often and instead of comparing myself to others, I truly admire the abilities of the people around me. I focus on the breath, on how my body feels, and that's it. Just by showing up I've won. No striving necessary. It's a microcosm for how I'm trying to live.