I don't know if it's unfortunate or fortuitous or purely coincidental that I found myself drawn to yoga around the same time that it seems as though other bloggers have. You see, I have a wee problem with sometimes feeling like I am imitating, like I am subconsciously fraudulent, like my identity shifts and gets lost sometimes. I get very caught up in the analyzing, then the overanalyzing, then trying to analyze what I can't analyze because if it's subconscious how do I know and how can I analyze what I don't know PARADOX OMG.
... Needless to say, I can get pretty wound up.
But that's one reason why I do yoga. Read on if you
My entire life, I've moved very quickly. I walk very fast, I talk - and stutter - quickly. I rushed my way through school, through my childhood, through cup of coffee after cup of coffee to give me the edge and get me as far away from where I was as quickly as possible and onto whatever's next. I am still very antsy, despite trying not to pull out my phone every goddamn second in order to keep busy and stimulate myself during periods of quiet or stillness. I pick up projects and put them down just as quickly, before the fun fades, before it stops being about fun and progress and just starts being, well, boring.
So when I quit smoking (almost a year now, yeeeeah boooy [and gurrrrl]), and I decided to turn my focus onto health and wellness and just general wellbeing, I got a gym membership and a pair of cheap training sneakers, thinking "Oh I'll just start running 3 times a week, maybe 4."
Dare I say it? That got boring. And uncomfortable. And really, I've never liked cardio.
I'd always wanted to try yoga; it seemed, at a base level, very calming but for many of the reasons most people don't try yoga, I didn't either. I'm not flexible, I won't have the stamina to make it through a class, I'm going to seriously fart and it will be totally humiliating and I will never be able to step foot on a mat again. But, as if on cue, the studio by my house was having a deal: $50, unlimited classes for November and December.
I wish I could say I really took full advantage of that offer. I averaged about a class a week, which I suppose is good, but supplemented my learning with yoga at home (YogaGlo what is UP). My first classes were brutal, I was walking funny due to soreness for days -- my head still thought I had a ballerina body and boy was I wrong! But as I kept up with it, my body became more familiar with itself and that kind of activity, and since I passed that "threshold" of insecurity and reintroducing my body to fitness, it has been thoroughly enjoyable.
The big thing for me, though, is not exclusively the discipline and physical benefits... it's the breathing. It's the mental state I am brought into through my practice. It's about the quiet moments in my head, the mindfulness, the moments of clarity and focus, the moments where you are trusting yourself to twist into this crazy position or balance yourself on your hands, and in that moment, there's just you, your breathing, and that trust. Even if you faceplant it's satisfying, because you tried and you trusted. That's pretty neat. And especially after destroying my lungs for ten years only to segue into a practice that relies so heavily on your breath, well, it just makes sense and felt so right. Breathing felt incredible once I quit smoking, and breathing felt even more exquisite when I learned to listen to it and make it my sort of metronome through my yoga practice.
Then, at the end of class, lying on your back in savasana after sweating and breathing and trusting and twisting and opening and exhaling and stretching and holding and moving and bending and stumbling and reaching, that's where there is magic for me. All those endorphins and all that activity, come to rest and everything is wonderful and everything is okay, because that is my moment (or moments) and there is nothing that cannot wait those few, quiet, lovely minutes set aside for me, for my reflection, for my peace and for not moving quickly. For slowing down and stopping and treasuring and being thankful, being calm, and just being. My judgments of myself, my judgments of others, my problems, all of it -- completely on hold. I get to just exist happily in myself without worry, sweat stains and fucked up hair and all.
It sounds trite, and I'm considering not even posting this damn thing because it just seems so, well, "fluffy." But screw it. This is MY blog I do what I want!!
Those are my feelings. And this is a comic that Jimmy posted on my Facebook which he says is how he will imagine me at yoga* from now on:
Did that just completely destroy the sentiment of this post? JUST KIDDING IT IS HILARIOUS AND TOTALLY BELONGS ON MY BLOG.
Lastly, here's something (a little more serious) that fits:
Yoga helps me get to that last place. Not consistently, and as it stands not too terribly often, but it has certainly helped me get there a handful of times. How could I not be into that?
* I did explain to Jimmy that what is referenced in the comic is meditation, not yoga specifically, though the two are often entwined... also that I do not teach classes so that can't really be me. He did not care. Eventually though, I gave in to the truth and told him that the next yoga class I take I'd think of that and sure enough... "sad poops," giggle giggle, plop. Don't think of that while attempting crow pose, y'all. Bad news.