Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Most Challenging Practice

    January each year is a bit of anniversary for me. January is the month I began my journey with my yoga practice. It was supposed to just be a simple "Yay! My last semester of undergrad; I'm going to reward myself with a fun class." And yet here I am five years later, still sweating it out on my mat. That college class ended in May, but I found classes in the community. And then I started attending workshops. And then I completed teacher training and became a registered yoga teacher. I taught my own classes for a year before Perrin came along. In fact, I taught right up until 2 weeks before Perrin was born.

   I have had some hard yoga classes. I have had teachers completely kick my ass. I have left limping and sore and feeling like I was hit by a truck because I rode my edge to my utmost ability and used muscles I didn't know I had. I regularly practiced Ashtanga, which if you are unfamiliar with is a pretty badass (yet completely accessible, not trying to scare anyone) practice. I attended some intense workshops and training. But it wasn't until recently, on the eve of my five year yoga-versary, that I began the hardest practice I have ever attempted.

   Before Perrin (a time frame measure I regularly use nowadays), when I practiced yoga, I practiced yoga. I attended led classes with incredible teachers. When I did my ashtanga practice, I did the full 90 minute primary series. I had a room in our house devoted as my own private shala. I did yoga right. And it felt good. Because that is part of my baggage that I am just now noticing. I have to do things right. Do them completely. Do them at least 100%. Because to not do it perfectly is to not do it at all. Or so my "rules" led me to believe. So you know what happened? I stopped practicing all together. And when I tried, it was only if I could make it to a led class.

   The thing about making it to a led class is  that generally yoga studios have classes at regular times. There is a start time, and a stop time. And it's at a place. That you have to get to by the start time. And when you have a Perrin, it's incredibly difficult. So my practice became more and more sporadic. And I started to put it off and avoid my sad neglected yoga mat because I knew the mat would feel SO GOOD and then I would feel SO BAD because I wasn't giving it (and myself) the time and attention it (and I) deserved.

   But like I mentioned in my last post, I'm starting to really take a look at my "rules" and challenge some of them. And I know, in my head, that some practice really is better than no practice. Even if it's only 15 minutes. Even if it's in our cluttered office surrounded by bunch of junk. On a mat covered in cracker crumbs. While Perrin's voice carries over Jai Uttal's and my cat somehow repeatedly MacGyver's the door open. And so I've committed to getting back into it. To practicing 6 days a week, no matter what each day's practice looks like. And it is the hardest thing I have ever done. It's hard not to judge myself. To say I slacked off or didn't do enough. To lament where I could be if I did more. To resent the fact that I just can't do more right now. It's hard to not do it "right". To not be "perfect". It is so, so fucking hard to accept my present and be at peace in it. So this takes the cake. Not the days of back to back teacher training; not the intense workshops; not demoing bakasana into tripod headstand while 36 weeks pregnant. Doing yoga- practicing real, truthful, compassionate yoga- is the most challenging practice I have ever attempted.

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