on the mat is a state of mind
My long overdue Day 108 post. Whew.
Here’s the thing. I went through a lot over the course of this 108 days. I finished. With a lot of classes, not 108, but enough to get the point. I went through phases with my yoga – there were days, weeks even, when I was hittin’ it. Hard. Powering through two or three level 2s, a power flow and a juicy class in a week. That’s a lot of REALLY hard yoga. And that kind of a schedule isn’t sustainable in the context of a balanced life.
I was lucky to discover yoga at a point when I didn’t have a lot of time constraints. I could check out new classes, sometimes two or three in a day. I had the luxury of getting to class super early, staying late to chat with friends and teachers, time to get home and ponder what I had experienced over the course of my class, time to write it down.
Everything about yoga, from getting dressed to downing water afterwards, was part of my process, and I experienced it in all it’s glory. Unfortunately, toward the end of my 108 days, I found myself sprinting into the studio, five minutes before class, throwing my mat down and changing in the bathroom as class was starting, hitting the floor still out of breath from my day.
There were days I knew I had to sacrifice my work / health / calorie intake / relationship with my dog to make time for my yoga. And I did. I went there. Other parts of my life suffered to make room for yoga. Counterintuitive, no?
I rebelled. I said eff it. There were days I didn’t go just on principle. I needed time. Time to just be. To be where I was in my day, in my life. Time to sit on my porch and talk to my friends. Time to sit in my bed and talk to my dog. Time to watch crappy tv and decompress from my day in a very passive way.
So, through all of this, I’ve struck a balance.
We go to extremes to find middle ground. I did no yoga. I did lots of yoga. Now, it’s a part of my life, a part of who I am. I take it as I need it, I put more into it when I have more to give. And it gives back. My practice is there for me when things are tough. My mat is my shelter from the storms that inevitably find their way into my life. It is also a place to revel in the good times. To let those experiences wash over me.
There are nights that I go to the studio to sweat out a bad day, mornings when I get my groove on before a big day, warm afternoons when I skip class to have drinks outside with my friends.
We have to push our boundaries to find the edge – in yoga, at work, in relationships. We have to go to the edge to know how much we can take, to know when to pull it back. If we don’t know how far we can go, how can we know where the middle is?
I know how far I went, and looking at it now, I know that I could have gone farther, which gives me even more faith in myself as I move forward. The mat is such an amazing metaphor for the rest of our lives – we see ourselves try and succeed, try and fail, quit and walk out, pick ourselves back up. Yoga is an amazing opportunity to learn on a very personal level, and yet it’s lessons are universal. When we fail in tree pose, when we fail in a work endeavor, do we get up and jump back in, or hang out and wait for the next thing?
I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity to get to know myself, and begin to learn what I am capable of. The lessons are already serving me well (as is this hot new bod I acquired somewhere along the way).
Keep Calm and Carry On.