I learned something on my yoga mat that was completely unexpected at the moment it was happening but profound in what I took away from it later. And no it wasn’t how to keep gas in or inconspicuously smell my pits to make sure I don’t stink, I already mastered those lessons. What I learned was how to be content exactly where I am at the exact moment I’m there with no expectations or desire to be anywhere or do anything else.
In my yoga practice there are often physical poses that I like to practice and work on and eventually achieve to some degree but what I forget and what I don’t expect is the mental and spiritual gains and awareness that often comes with the physical practice. And I know that it is the spiritual enlightenment that is the ultimate goal but it is the physical practice that first presents itself to me. There are certain poses that I’m drawn to and want to practice until I can do them to the degree I am able. One such pose is Pincha Mayurasana or forearm stand. To me it embodied both strength and agility, work and ease and I was struck by the balance of the pose. I’ve been practicing it for years now. I’ve been able to get into this pose to varying degrees over these years but I’ve always fallen out of it fairly quickly because my mind quickly would move to thinking how long I was going to be able to hold it for and would I fall down and take 5 people with me or what will I do next to advance the pose. Over time I have settled more into it and find myself being able to hold onto the pose for longer and to stay in it a little deeper.
And today I figured out my previous mistake: I was trying to Hold the pose instead of let go and be in the pose for the good the bad and the ugly. Today I let go. Today my legs went up over my head and a smile crept across my face and I was truly enjoying the sensation of being upside down and not caring how long I could hold it, how good it looked to anyone else or if I’d ever be able to do it again. I simply enjoyed the feeling of feeling my center and knowing it could hold me up and free me to experience something entirely different for a while. I only came out of the pose when I decided it was time to rest and savasana was calling my name.
During savasana I was able to put together the physical practice that happened during this yoga session with my current state of being and my mindset right here and right now. I’ve been a little sad this summer that neither one of my kids went away to sleepaway camp. This is the first time in 6 years they haven’t gone. And I’m only a little sad about it because it means I can’t do whatever I want whenever I want for the summer, I’m mostly sad because I feel like they’re missing out. I’m sad because I think everyone else’s kids are having the summers of their lives and my kids are here with me doing a whole heluvalottanothing. I’m sad because camp to me represents some of the happiest times of my life and I wanted this for my kids. I’m a little sad this summer because we’re not really going anywhere spectacular or doing anything extraordinary compared to what I see when I look around social media. I mean traveling to Westwood, MA really doesn’t count for much although it is a nice town. I’m a little sad because I just finished the school year and am already mourning the loss of the summer even though it just started.
And then this happened. And I had a moment with myself where I looked inside and found I was exactly where I was supposed to goddamn be. I have a totally real, totally awesome, and totally maddening family who challenges me every day to breathe, be present, and be enough, not more, not less. I have the most wonderful friends surrounding me who make me feel like I’m in Mexico on a sun filled, exciting vacation even when I’m just in front of the fire pit in my backyard. I have a life here that is worth living in if I can stop wanting to be somewhere else or doing something different or hoping for a different outcome. The challenge comes to finding the strength and agility, the work and the ease within each moment and being right there in it without wanting to be anywhere else. This is not to say that I wouldn’t like to be on some wonderful vacation with Adam Levine because goddammit that would be fucking awesome. But for now I will practice being present and real with what I have in front of my face (and yes it might mean putting a picture of Adam Levine on the lenses of my sunglasses). Join me this summer in being content right where you are. We all need company.