Yoga Diary 1: Acknowledge and Respect Where You Are Right Now
It’s been far too long since I’ve updated. Classes end for me on Friday so this is that crazy time in the semester where I’m scrambling to stay on top of things. Despite putting blogging on the back-burner, I’ve still managed to not get much done. I guess putting Hulu and Netflix on the back-burner would be the logical next step… I’m working on it!
For a while now I’ve been compiling notes for an upcoming series of posts that I want to do on GWHG. I often find myself reflecting on how much yoga has become apart of my life, even off the mat, and I thought it would be awesome to share some of my reflections with you guys. These posts will be pretty quick, as I’m trying to be economic about both my time and that of my lovely readers, but I hope they’ll be fun and relevant in some ways. I’m excited to actually take the time to articulate some of my sentiments about my practice and how it continues to shape my everyday life.
The theme of this first Yoga Diary entry is “Acknowledge and Respect Where You Are Right Now.”
In many of the yoga classes I’ve taken, there is a moment in the warm-up where the instructor asks the students to check in with their bodies. While breathing through a few cat-cows or some other gentle stretches, I’m asked to tune into my body and see what’s going on with it. Where’s the tightness? What is my mind focusing on? What is my energy level like? Taking this inventory makes me aware of where I am – mentally and physically – at that moment. While I initially understood this part of class as a tool for challenging myself throughout the rest of the class – working through the tension, working through negative thoughts, persevering despite low energy levels – I have recently come to realize that while it is powerful to acknowledge where you are at a particular moment in order to work through it, it is also powerful to acknowledge where you are at a given moment and respect it.
I have days where I feel like an absolute yoga beast. My poses are strong – energy pulsing through my fingertips and toes, core muscles engaged, graceful transitions. My body is able to make sense of difficult inversion poses and has a feather-like quality that allows my muscles to stacks beautifully and I move in ways that make me feel as though I’m defying gravity.
And then there are the other days…where holding downward dog for more than two breathes is a struggle. Where I extend my arms into Warrior 2 and they feel as though they weigh 100 pounds. Where I almost topple over during a simple side stretch.
There are some days when I set my mind set on overcoming these weaknesses. After a wobbly first round of a flow, I reset my body and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes. I continue to work on my crow after 2-3 shaky attempts, dead set on getting at least one good hold. Sometimes, however, rather than getting all worked up, correcting the mistakes, and repeatedly attempting poses, I just simply make the choice to respect where I am in that moment. Today is not a day for crow. Today is not a day for perfectly lengthened limbs. Today is a day for a wobbly Crescent Pose and a block-assisted standing split. And that’s fine. It’s frustrating to not be able to do things that you were capable of just days, or even hours, before but we have to embrace the dynamics of the human condition.
While acknowledging our weaknesses is important for tracking self progress, setting goals, and implementing change, it is also an opportunity to embrace our imperfections. It is a moment to remind ourselves that whether or not we choose to, or are able to, work through these weaknesses, we are no less beautiful, we are no less worthy, we are no less of a yogi – we are human.