Yoga is a practice.

By meredith, January 21, 2013 9:48 am

Cassie Puppy Pose

Yoga: a Sanskrit word for “join” or “unite”.

During my prenatal yoga practice at home with Yogaglo the other night, I was getting really antsy. In fact, I can’t remember struggling with as big a case of the antsies (both physical AND psychological) during an attempt to be mindful (yoga, meditation, etc.) for as long as I can remember.

Maybe it’s my new job working with adults with severe mental health issues I’m dealing with; or it’s being pregnant and missing one of my favorite go to coping skills – drinking a glass of wine! (healthy or not, it’s a good quick fix, okay!?); being pregnant and newly married and maneuvering the nuances of my relationship with my husband as we embark on our married life together while also preparing mentally and logistically for a new baby; I could go on and on. It’s probably a combination of everything all at once.  I’m experiencing some very important life transitions right now. And these are BIG life events. But life’s always changing: that’s the only thing that’s constant in life, so they say.

First it took me a while to even settle in for yoga. I was home from work before 6. What I did between 8 pm and then remains to be seen. I think I probably did manage to check a couple of things off of my ‘to do’ list. But I’m going to bet that it wasn’t necessary that I get those things done that night, or at least during those two hours. I think I called a few day care centers to put my name in and get some information, something else that’s been overwhelming me lately.  Situations like this are the problem I am faced with oftentimes when I try to fit in something that’s good for me, mentally and physically: I start thinking of my to do’s as being so critical that I put the important self care items on my to do list aside to check one more thing off my list. But the truth is: there will always be another thank you note to write; a bargain item to research for the baby; a grocery list to make; a dinner to prepare; or one more phone call to return.

Finally, I settled into my yoga mat: “settled” being the operative word here. The next thing I knew, the our dog was coming over to settle onto my mat with me. Granted, she left plenty of space. So when she came back the second time, I decide to do my puppy pose right around her. In fact, I finished the entire yoga session around her. She’s older, and snuggly, and I love spending time with her. Besides, maybe the  practice is good for dogs too!

Then I got a phone call…and another phone call. I wish I could say I ignored my phone completely. Both times, I judged myself for even flinching when the phone rang. This is my time! Can’t I even get through a 45 minute class without getting so distracted? (Just a few of my thoughts.)

Granted, I resisted the temptation to answer the phone both times.  I did, however, take a look at my phone just to make sure – as if there was some sort of Wednesday night emergency I would just have to respond to. Do I subconsciously believe that I am a super hero?

I think it comes back to making excuses to avoid what’s important. But to be fair, to myself and to readers, it can be hard to connect with friends nowadays, and important things are happening in my loved ones lives. Some friends are getting engaged, and I want to hear their story: share in their joy and celebration. Other friends are trying to visit me before my baby is born – we have to finalize those dates and make sure it happens!

But the bottom line is that nothing that was coming up couldn’t wait forty-five minutes. (At least! Maybe even wait until tomorrow. Or wait until I was in the space to be able to talk with someone and be present for our conversations.) After giving myself a really hard time, I realized my practice had been more effective than I was giving myself credit for. In spite of taking 2 hours to get onto the mat, and pausing the video more times than I care to share right now, I still did the entire practice. Actually, I did the practice with my dog too!

I remained present. I did all of the poses. And I stayed with the most difficult part of the class after which even instructor explained right after that we should go easy on ourselves if we didn’t get to do all of the arm exercise. Rather, she said, keep doing the class as many times as you need to in order to finish the pose. Not me! I did it without stopping, in spite of the burning sensation in my arms I felt the entire time. It helped that she said it’d help me get stronger for post labor breastfeeding and carting baby around.

When I went to relay this information to a friend later that night, I realized just how pleased I was with myself for staying with it. The next day I read an article in the Elephant Journal which reminded me of this:

“Yoga is the practice of dealing with the consequences of being yourself.” – Caroline Scherer

What a BEAUTIFULLY BRILLIANT message! That’s just it –yoga is about embracing all of ourselves, perceived strengths and weaknesses and all. If we take the definition of yoga one step further, perhaps it means to unite ourselves (body, mind spirit) as much as it means to unite ourselves with others (our communities, loved ones, and spiritual guides.)

Yoga is a practice (of many things.) And that’s exactly what I am doing every time I step onto (or off of) the mat. I’m practicing being with myself, and with that comes being present no matter what’s going on in our lives. Some days we’ll find that easier than others.

2 Responses to “Yoga is a practice.”

  1. As a yoga instructor I believe Yoga is the perfect method for maintaining mind body alignment.

    Nayeema Akter

  2. Melissa Matheson says:

    Love this! You absolutely have to find time for yourself for things like this EVEN and ESPECIALLY when the baby comes! You’ll need it then more than ever. Even if it is 25 minutes to go for a quick run or do some yoga, it is definitely essential. It definitely gets tough to find the time and the energy but you always feel SO much better after it’s done.

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