Me and yoga have had an on again off again relationship since I was eighteen, long before the ancient practice was mainstream and trendy (yep, that's me – super trendsetter). This time around, it's been a (shameful) year since I took my last class. I belong to a great ladies-only gym and spa, where the most talented and inspiring 63 year-young beautiful instructor teaches yoga. When I do yoga regularly I eat better, breathe better, look better, have more energy and better posture, and feel more confident, relaxed, and centered. Good stuff.
So, what is my problem that I put off going to class for a year? Embarrassed? Too busy? Too Tired? Not interested in all the benefits but would rather feel crappy and blue than do something about it aka mommy martyr? I get stuck in that vicious circle of lazy excuses and self criticism and enough is enough. I want to feel better and reunite with my long-time friend and love yoga!
After a year of neglecting my inner yogi, me and my favorite yoga partner, my mom (who has also denied herself a regular class in way too long) make concrete plans to take the easiest of the two Saturday yoga classes. I unearth my green yoga mat from a pile of crap in my carport and it’s so dirty that I have to hose it off before I can use it. As I spray the year's worth of leaves and dirt off the mat, I see a few spiders escape the flooding of their home and I think about the movie A Bugs Life and that I’ve just destroyed their only world and they are crawling away screaming “Run for your lives – Armageddon!!!!”. Hey, a girl has to make light of a sad situation, right? Or, am I just trying to make myself feel guilty that I've neglected myself just like my yoga mat? Wait wait wait, enough of that being so hard on myself nonsense.
Damp yoga mat and water bottle in hand, I arrive at the gym and join my mom in line waiting for our class to begin. After the advanced yoga class finishes their 500 crunches and namaste - yes, 500!!! – we secure our places in the back of the room and smile at each other like “ya, we are finally doing it, yea for us!”. The instructor announces that, by request, we’ll be doing the full shoulder pretzel today and does a little speech about how it hurts but it’s worth it. Inside I’m cheering because I LOVE doing the full shoulder pretzel. LOVE IT!!!! All of the pain (torture) aside, there is no other position that leaves you feeling better immediately and for many glorious days after that. A marvelous hour later, I feel like a new woman with a renewed feeling that no way no how will I ever go a year again without my beloved yoga.
There are several regular appointments that I schedule for my physical health and I do my very best to keep up with those. I regularly see my gynecologist, eye doctor, general doctor, dentist (I’m, uh hum, back on track after a little “hiatus”), chiropractor, and hairdresser (hey, call it mental therapy). Some people even consider it a birthday gift to themselves to get an exam, like my favorite former waiter writer. I'll spread my legs for my gyno, endure the agony of dental cleanings and lectures (guilt) about flossing every day, but I won't gift myself the pleasure of a weekly yoga class in the very least? It just doesn't make sense. I know my life can get busy and tiring, but one hour a week of stretching, breathing, and getting balanced makes all the other day-to-day life stuff a whole lot easier. I am making a promise to myself that doing yoga is not adding to my already long to-do list, but instead I'm adding it to my personal gift box. Like my to-do list which never seems empty, I want to make sure my gift box is always full. Humm, very clever of me...so, let's see, what else can I add to that box?