Those that know me know that I practice yoga. A lot. Practice is the operative word. It more clearly defines what happens when I step on the mat than I “do” yoga. Because in reality, I practice. I practice my heart out. And sometimes, every so often, something clicks and I find patience and peace in uncomfortable poses and can hold chair pose till someone else tells me to stop. But mostly? Mostly I practice. I practice staying steady when I feel wobbly. I practice breathing when I want to scream “end this pose already”. I practice at being more flexible even if it’s just a millimeter more movement. I practice being in the moment and not letting the past or the future consume me. I practice. And mostly I fall down or out of the pose and find myself thinking about what my day looks like tomorrow or comparing myself to the person holding a beautiful bird of paradise next to me. But every once in a while, the practice allows me to experience the peace and clarity that yoga was meant to bring. And those moments let me know that no matter how challenging the situation or the anticipation or the experience or the relationship, I can find peace and balance and strength and stability and my breath.
It’s the same off the mat. Most of the time I practice at remaining calm when everything around me is falling to pieces because the reality is that I often don’t get it right or perfect in that particular moment. It’s in the quiet reflection when things settle that I can think about the things that got me to where I find myself and that instead of trying to “fix it” or “overcome it” or “move past it” I can just be with it and in it with maybe a little more grace, beauty and composure than previously. It’s freaking hard. It’s much harder than when I’m trying to hold tree into airplane into figure four into crescent lunge. Much, much harder. When difficult things happen I can feel the spiral pulling me down down down into some really dark places where my head can’t find space, my heart can’t find love, and my body wants to collapse into itself for hours, days, weeks. It’s only with practice both on and off the mat that I have realized that I cannot change the moment I can only be in it a different way. I can only re-frame my thinking and my feelings around that moment to make it a better moment than it was before. I can only pull out my tools and my props to give me a little support and help me open up to new possibilities. It is in these moments that the growth happens.
This past week has been such a challenging time. I’m thankful for every moment on the mat where I struggled and made it through a little more gracefully for helping me get through the moments in my life the same way. I am forever grateful to the PRACTICE of yoga that has helped me become better at practicing life. To all my wonderful yogi friends and teachers, I love you. Namaste.