After having a passionate talk yesterday with my mom and some of her coworkers about how great yoga is, I decided that I’ve been away for too long. I used to set aside at least 30 minutes every day for yoga, and loved it. However, after moving out of my parents’ house last winter, that all changed. All of a sudden I was an adult, with adult responsibilities. My time and focus began to be taken up with the busy-ness. What kept me away from making yoga a regular practice for the last few months wasn’t that I found it a chore. It was actually the opposite: I saw it as a release and relaxation. And that has been where I have a problem; my mind is overwhelmed with the idea that I could be doing something more “productive.”
…And yet, shouldn’t our mental and physical health take the forefront, since we can’t fully support others if we aren’t first fully supporting ourselves? We shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time to meditate or do yoga; it should be made into a priority. We should be able to lay in corpse pose, in full relaxation, for as long as we like; and yet, despite my absolute love of corpse pose, I often feel this little restlessness creep up at the end of my practice telling me “Ok, you had your fun…now go be productive!”
But hey! The first step in change is awareness. I am now aware of these thoughts and their ultimate irrelevance. I can now begin to take notice of their arrival, accept them, and let them go gently and lovingly.
Aside from the occasional 5 minutes here and there, I haven’t set aside any time lately to practice yoga and be fully in the moment with it. Today’s practice was a clear indicator that I needed it, badly. I’m not talking about the tight muscles, those will return to their former flexibility in time. I am talking about mindfulness. I found myself to be very distracted: it was hard for me to find peace and calm with an 8 month old puppy squeaking a toy skunk next to my head while in a supported shoulder stand, or crawling underneath my body as I lowered myself down from plank into upward facing dog. Finally, the last straw was her humping my leg as I returned to downward facing dog! I started laughing, half for the situation, and half out of a response to my growing frustration. I felt frustrated at myself for not being able to focus. I was striving for perfection, rather than giving myself a break and realizing that this is all a part of the journey. Mindfulness doesn’t come overnight, it is something that takes practice and time. I took a deep breath and took a step back to forgive myself and accept rather then fight the emotions I was experiencing. However, I did put Siggi in her crate with the promise of a walk after, so I could finish the practice without distraction.
There is a reason yoga is referred to as a practice; we can constantly find room to improve ourselves. Yoga, like life, is a journey, not a destination. Today I remembered how vital it is for my overall well-being. I will continue to set aside time each day specifically for yoga and meditation, without any guilt.
Make yourself a priority!
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