I have to be honest. I recently fell off of the yoga wagon. I know that is probably not the first thing you were hoping to read when you clicked on the yoga page of Tuning the Student Mind, but hear me out.
One of the things that I love most about the practice of yoga is that it never lies. Yoga is and has always been a very real extension of myself. Yoga shows me where I am, on an emotional, spiritual, and physical level. Like a mirror, it does not reflect back to me who I imagine myself to be or who I would like to be tomorrow, next week, or next year. It shows me who I am, right now.
My yoga practice is different everyday. Sometimes, I am light as feather, springing into headstands and backbends with ease. Sometimes, my concentration is so naturally acute that I could hold lighting bolt pose for days, okay, minutes, on end. But sometimes, I am just a mess. I fall, and I shake. I feel angry and frustrated. I want to put my sweaty nose high up into the air and just walk out. Yesterday was one of those days.
Yesterday was my first yoga class back after an almost two week long hiatus. During those two weeks, I was too busy studying for finals to go to yoga. I was too tired. I was too stressed. I was too sick. I was too busy making excuses why I could not go to yoga, to go to yoga! Yesterday, I (finally) dragged my lazy behind to a hot vinyasa class.
I decided to forgo my usual front row spot and settled for a space in the back corner. Though a little timid, I felt excited to start class and get back to my usual yoga self. The first ten minutes of the class were absolutely wonderful. I could practically hear my muscles thanking me. As my little cousin once said to me after I taught her a few yoga poses, it felt “like I was hugging myself.” But then, things changed.
All of a sudden, my body felt unfamiliar. My limbs felt heavy. I felt oddly constricted in my clothes. It was like there was just too much of me. This wasn’t easy. It wasn’t effortless. It was hard.
I remembered a favorite refrain of one of my teachers: You are, at any moment, exactly where you’re supposed to be. I knew then that, whether or not I was happy about it, this uncomfortable, unrelenting place was where I was supposed to be.
Even though the class was difficult, the poses themselves were never painful. It was almost like paddling upstream. I felt like I was working against something, rather than with it. Within just a few minutes of this awareness, however, I realized that this “something” I was working against was me.
It’s amazing how quickly the body adapts, especially to something as natural as yoga. Once I recognized that what was holding me back could also propel me forward, it was as simple as flicking a switch. But of course, that is sometimes easier said than done.
I want to invite you to read my thoughts on yoga whether it is a backbend day or a lie-flat-on-your-mat-for-60-whole-minutes day. For if you come honestly to this blog, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Maddy Beauregard | Yoga Contributor
(Photo credit: Cleveland Yoga Teacher Training 2012)