Practicing yoga (November 26)
Today, I practiced yoga. At home, on my mat, in my living room, by myself. I’m sharing this because I think we need to share the positive and realistic behaviours that make up who we are as people.
I’ve been practicing for fifteen years off and on. And the times in my life when it’s been on have generally been healthier than when it’s been off. Strength, breath, and flexibility are what I’ve been taught. And every time I step on my mat, I am practicing and I am learning. I have been blessed with good teachers, who are individual in how they present themselves, yet similar in how they have inspired me to keep practicing and keep showing up for myself. Yoga can be intimidating, I get that. Teachers make a big difference (as they do in any vocation or learning space) – the mind and the body can be in cahoots with one another and they can also be at battle with each other – and the influence of one teacher can (in my experience) dramatically affect how much my whole self listens to what is being taught.
This summer, I got to practice outside in a field surrounded by trees. How glorious it was to look up at the sky and the clouds and the wind moving through the air. One teacher specifically referenced the trees and how they stand so tall and strong, rooted into the earth, reaching up to the sun, and allowing the wind to rustle their branches without pushing them over. I am taught that yoga is not about perfection and grit, yoga is about connecting with my strength, my breath, and my flexibility and allowing my body and my mind to be rooted while reaching.
Some days, all I can seem to muster up is a few downward dogs, a sun salutation or two, or a dancer pose. Then my downward dog turns into pigeon because it just feels so good to open up my hips and breath into a new posture. Then I change legs and the other side feels just as good and a little different, so I keep moving my body because I’m on my mat and I’m listening and I’m breathing and I’m feeling. And if I don’t move beyond child’s pose, that’s okay. I showed up. For me.
I miss practicing with others. I miss the energy from those who are practicing around me. I miss the teachings and the messaging and the act of simply trusting myself to be led by a teacher. And I am grateful that I have been practicing long enough that I can lead myself for now, as times are not conducive to sharing an indoor space with my fellow yogis. I encourage you to remember to keep the positive leisure experiences going in the best ways you can right now. I spend much of my work time online in front of my laptop screen, so I choose not to participate in online (or any on screen) yoga classes, but that may be the best option for you. However you choose to invite healthy pursuits into your day, please keep choosing them. Find ways. I will help you. Send me an email. Phone me. Text me. Choose your health. Now.
I’m not the fittest or the best eater or the smartest person. But I try to make good life choices. And I’m trying to help my friends and my family and my colleagues and my community make good life choices too, when we can, where we can. We need to keep encouraging one another.
Breath, strength, flexibility. I can do this. You can do this.