I know that I’ve talked about it here a million times and I’m sure that people in my life are sick of hearing it, but yoga has changed my life in so many ways that it’s hard not to talk about it. Where once anxiety waited around every turn, preying on my weaknesses, telling me that I would never amount to anything and that each little task was a mountain to climb, I now have tools to keep it away and keep myself strong. Where I once saw the words “no,” “I can’t,” “never,” I now start to see “I can” and “I will.” Anxiety still lives down inside of me, sometimes bubbling up to take over, but now it is easier to push it back down and make it behave. Anxiety now lives largely in the background, leaving the rest to be filled with living life. Some of this is because I found a great psychiatrist. Some of it is because I’ve gotten older and more comfortable with myself. But a large part of the credit goes to yoga.
Because so much of my anxiety is centered around my body and health, yoga is an excellent counter to it. If I can control what my body does in so many ways, there is less room to find fault with it. Add a little meditation and breathing to interrupt those ruminations and yoga is the perfect recipe for my particular brand of anxiety.
I still find myself daunted by certain tasks, especially those that might interrupt the calm(ish) little life I’ve got going here. But it has come to a point where my life needs a shake-up. I need to push past the “I can’t” and into the “I will.” So again, I’m turning to yoga
7 years ago I couldn’t do this.
5 years ago I couldn’t do this.
1 year ago I couldn’t do this.
If I can hold warrior II, balance on my arms, and freakin STAND on my HEAD, I can do anything right? At least, that’s what I tell myself when my mind is full of doubts. Yoga reminds me that I am strong, that I can overcome fear, and that I have control. With that on my side, the only thing left to do is to move forward.
Aside from the walk, I’ve been feeling kind of stagnant in my life. I’m doing the same old work. This blog seems to have stalled out. I spend half my day dropping off and picking up children from various places. Even yoga was feeling stale. For nearly two years of a more-intense yoga practice, I was still excited to go to class and rejuvenated afterward…until I wasn’t. I started holding onto anxiety during my practice and feeling stuck. With life being busier, it seemed easier to just stay home and get a little work done or have that extra time to clean up or do whatever other task inevitably was left undone during the day.
This left me feeling depressed. Yoga had been my safe haven, my relaxation, my energy, my love for so long. Was it over? Would I have to search for some new passion? I didn’t want it to be the end. Plus, I have an annual membership to my studio that doesn’t end until August so I HAVE to go. That shit is expensive! So I continued to go and I enjoyed it, but didn’t feel passionate the way I used to.
Then last week I went to my usual class with one of my favorite instructors–the instructor who helped ignite my passion with an arm balance years ago. We had been working on astavakrasana or eight angle pose and this day I just GOT it. I held it so well that she tried to get me to transition into eka pada koundinayasana II, but that didn’t work out because of a sensitive shoulder (and it’s REALLY hard!). But that didn’t matter, in holding that pose I felt it again; that spark, that love, that excitement. When I got home I showed the pose to my husband and kids, who said it was a “cool trick.” Well, it IS a cool trick.
Holding that one pose brought me back into myself and into the moment. It helped me to remember why I love yoga in the first place. The answer is most definitely NOT advanced poses, although it was for me this time. The answer is finding something in yourself that you didn’t know was there. In the past it’s been exciting advanced poses, mantras that touched something inside of me, classes that made me feel like a part of something larger than myself, and even watching a fellow student discover a new pose for themselves. It seems that I am not done with yoga yet and yoga is most certainly not done with me. In the words of every yoga teacher ever, “it is a practice.”
Oh yeah! Astavakrasana baby!
Also, notice how my home practice inevitably involves children…
Yesterday, we had to attend a funeral for a member of my husband’s extended family. We were there to support those who were close to him, although we were not close with him ourselves. As is the nature of funerals, the plans were not made in advance, and it took place about 2 hours from where we live. We’ve never used a sitter for the kids outside of family and our building co-op, so we had to take them with us. We were nervous about having them at the service. It was a sad event. This death was unexpected and untimely. We wanted to be there for those who might take comfort in our presence, not be a nuisance.
Here is where the miracle occurred. Both of my children behaved like absolute angels. I know that sounds funny, but I am being 100% sincere when I say that God was working in that church yesterday. The people who were speaking about the deceased needed to be heard, the family needed to be able to grieve, the people around us needed to be able to feel their sadness and dab their eyes. Everything went as it should. Brady sat at the front of the church with my in-laws and we sat further back to the side with Declan. No one heard a peep from Brady and Declan whispered politely when he wanted to talk to me. He made it a full hour before quietly asking me if we could go outside and I obliged. All of my anxiety about them (well, Declan really) being disruptive was unfounded.
We were even able to attend the reception afterward where we could hug the people we were there for and see faces we hadn’t seen since my husband’s sister’s wedding. We were met by so many compliments on our children’s behavior that I’m sure I was blushing. At the reception the kids did what kids should do at such events, they brought a bit of joy. Declan looked into the garden and wondered over every leaf and drop of rain with a woman I had never met. Brady entertained with his ability to eat one of every kind of dessert.
Every funeral since my dad died brings me back to the day of his service. This one especially because it is the son of the man who died that we are close with. Having my children with me gave me a new perspective on death, and life, and made that journey back to my father’s funeral much easier to take. I hope they gave a little of that to some of the others there yesterday as well.
There is an epic battle being fought in my bedroom. The fighters are in pajamas. I paid 10 pretend dollars for my pretend ticket and the winner gets 10 million pretend dollars. I am drinking a real beer as I watch. They just paused the fight to see how “adorable” the cat is under the bed.
This, folks, is what it’s all about.
I took a kick-ass yoga class last night from an instructor I had never had before. I find that most classes are either very physical or very spiritual/mental. This class was a perfect balance of both! The instructor shared an amazing lesson and I wanted to share it here as well. She happens to have a WordPress blog, so it’s easy to do. Check it out for yourself on her site at Ethereal Wellness.
I felt very renewed after class and my head is in a different space today. These are the things about yoga that keep me going back again and again.
Don’t forget to put up your Right Now posts today. Or any day for that matter. If you miss it or you forget or read this tomorrow, I would still love to see your Right Now.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Right Now is a way to share a slice of your life and get a look into the lives of other bloggers. Just take a picture of whatever is going on around you “right now” and post it with the title “Right Now:” and the time it was taken. Tag it with “right now” and link back to my blog so everyone else can see and I’ll add you to the Right Now page on my sidebar. Go there now and check out all of the wonderful blogs who have posted already.
Right Now is going on again tomorrow. It was so amazing to see what everyone posted last week and I can’t wait to see what’s in store this week.
It’s really easy. Tomorrow, any time of the day (or any time any day for that matter), take a photo of what’s going on in your life. Post it with the title “Right Now:” followed by the time the photo was taken and tag it with “right now.” Link back to my blog so I know and everyone else can see and/or comment on this post, my right now post tomorrow, the Right Now page, or wherever you want so that everyone can see it. I’ll also make sure that everyone who posts is added to the Right Now page in my sidebar and highlight it here tomorrow.
I figured I’d do two today for the inaugural Right Now. Right now I am about to enjoy a glass of wine and last night’s episode of The Bridge.
I wanted to thank everyone who posted their Right Now today. It was so awesome to see a bit of each of your lives. Check it out:
This Goes To Eleven
The Vanilla Housewife
Mom Goes On
All different, interesting, and cool.
If you’d like to participate, just post your Right Now and link back to me. I’ll add you to my Right Now page on my sidebar.
Right now we’re on our way to school. I wanted to start things off early so this is what you get – the walk to school. There was minimal yelling today and none by me (hooray!) so it’s been a decent morning.
I’ll add the right now link when I’m not on my phone and pushing a stroller. If you know and you’re joining in, link to your post in the comments.
Here are the details to participate in Right Now.
Tomorrow is the day for Right Now. Join me and some other awesome blogs in posting a photo, sometime tomorrow (Thursday, September 19th) of what is happening to you “right now.” It’s super easy. Just take a photo of what’s going on in your life. Post it with the title “Right Now:” followed by the time the photo was taken and tag it with “right now.”
Let me know you’re posting and I’ll link to your blog and put you up on my “Right Now” page on my sidebar. I’m hoping it will be a fun way to see a bit into the lives of other bloggers.
Me, right now 8:55pm EST, blogging in bed.