I love yoga.
I used to do it regularly back in the day, morning and evening. Nothing fancy or “pretzel”-y, but lots of stretches and things like downward-facing dog (often accompanied by an upward-facing cat), child’s pose and Proud Warrior. Lots of poses (including my beloved savasana) required getting down on the floor and up again, which was no big deal back in the day. I didn’t have to think twice about it–I just did it.
Then life happened.
Jobs that took so much out of me I could barely manage the absolute essentials of home life before collapsing into bed. (Aside: why do we so seldom include the things we love to do on the “absolute essentials” list?)
To add to the fun and games, a badly messed-up knee followed by a sciatic nerve periodically raising its ugly head made getting down on the yoga mat a very dicey proposition. The list goes on, but I’m sure you’ve got enough of your own things to deal with so I’ll spare you.
For some occult and self-destructive reason I decided if I couldn’t get down on the mat, I could no longer do yoga. So I rolled up my mat, blanket and strap and sadly stowed them away–but not too far away.
Like it’s been for so many of us, the last few years were insanely stressful. (And this year has definitely had its share of challenges.) In desperation I found myself reaching for an old spiritual practice that had fallen by the wayside–meditation. Trying to control my mind has always been like attempting to impose a vow of silence on Monkey Island, and the current barrage of disinformation and propaganda from the media hadn’t helped matters any. So this time instead of trying to clear my mind, when errant thoughts popped up I allowed them to drift through, then returned my attention to my breathing. And it worked! (Humbling admission: it was also the way I should’ve been doing it all along, but better late than never.)
I still missed yoga, though. There’s something about the combination of body/mind/spirit yoga offers that simply couldn’t be duplicated–at least for me. I still wasn’t in any shape for getting down on the mat, but one day I decided to unroll it and do a few standing poses. Progress! Then I came across some videos showing chair yoga which would allow me to do more poses without aggravating my problem areas. We got me set up with a sturdy folding chair and I started my own chair yoga practice, which I absolutely loved.
The bad news: One day last week I was pouring a potful of boiling pasta water into a colander and my hand slipped. Ended up with 2nd degree burns across the inside of my left wrist. (Don’t worry, no pictures!) Because even chair yoga involves hand and arm movements, along with the fact that I was really hurting, I didn’t practice yoga for several days. And I really, really missed it.
The good news: I’m starting back up this afternoon!
I’ve often said it’s the little victories that keep us sane, but after re-reading this post I’m beginning to see that maybe this victory really isn’t such a little one after all….