Yoga is a paradoxical little animal. Find your edge but listen to your body. Watch what you eat but enjoy good foods. Meditate but live every moment to the fullest.
I found a brand-new paradox this year: it began the first month of school, where I found that first-year kindergarten teachers become stupid sick at first. I prided myself on living so clean that I never got sick. Now I was feeling sick and guilty.
It’s become the same with my practice recently: I’ve been going to Shakti, a power studio and have been practicing power yoga 6 days a week. The room is always packed with experienced yogis, all of which increases my temptation greatly to muscle my way into a variation that doesn’t always feel right. And sometimes I do. And now my back hurts and I feel guilty for not listening to my body.
It all came to a head last Monday, when, working on handstands (like 10 minutes into the class! I told you these girls were tough!) I got myself kicked in the face by another girl going up. That was it – I was suddenly totally overwhelmed and had to leave the room for a moment, where I cried like it was my first class. Three extremely kind students came out to ask if I needed anything, including the girl who kicked me, but there was nothing I could do – my face was red due to a bruised ego, not bruised skin.
Asana means a lot to me. I wish it wasn’t this way, but I take pride in working up to poses and reaching them days, weeks, or months later. I wish I was able to just relax and enjoy the ride and know that asana was just a means to taking my meditation practice further. But letting go of pride seems to be my higher intention lately; I’d really rather say my intention is for a family member’s safe travels, or for a kid at school, or for a victim I’ve heard about on a local news story. But I think it needs to be letting go of pride and being gentler with myself, at least for the time being, so I can be less judgmental and gentle with others.
I’m actually very excited to check back in with my foundations because I am looking forward to teaching a very special class on February 23 at 2 p.m. at Hot Yoga Plus:
If you’re in the Nashville area, I’d love to see you there! It’s a great reason to check my pride at the door; I anticipate lots of beautiful new yogis and it will behoove me to bring lots of humility and integrity. That’s a much better “goal” to work up to, anyway.