Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thanks, yoga

Remember when I posted about how sore my poor, aching back was due to the labour-intensive trials of mommyhood? Well, it still is. I think only my fave massage therapist will be able to fix this one. BUT the good news is my nightly yoga sessions haven't been all for naught. I ave done my asanas in lulus and nighties, and now the bazillion downward facing dogs have worked their Hindu magic on me. Sort of. I know it's not really magic and that the Brahmas would hate me for calling it so. What I'm trying to say is, I am back to my pre-Abby weight, comfortably. All those Warrior Twos and Triangle poses have wrung my hips right out so I finally fit into the pre-baby jeans I had delegated to the deep, dark corners of my closet. It's a nice feeling. More importantly, a strong feeling.
I have even found my beginner level yoga DVDs to be too easy. Only a few weeks ago, I was sweating and breathing heavy and really concentrating to make it through the twists and balances. Now I am confidently tackling Shiva pose and Plow pose. I used to have a yoga teacher who encouraged us to congratulate ourselves for every pose we sat out, because it indicated we were respecting our body's limits and foregoing any sense of competition with the other yogis, and I try to keep this in mind when I am tired.
It is a part of my day I really look forward to. It is my 'me' time. An hour or even an hour and a half can go by quickly when it is a breath in, a breath out. This is what I was taught to do, to focus on the moment and what my body feels like in a pose as I breathe in, then out. No pose is stoic, they are always being adjusted, moving a bit into and out of it based on my breathing pattern.
If I am being totally honest though, and I congratulate myself on this too, it is really hard for me to lose myself in the practice like I used to. I once had a little Chinese teacher who got me to be so present, so focused, and so appreciative of what my body was doing that I really had an out-of-body experience. I totally saw myself from above, like I was floating above the pose, watching me do it. It was religious and awesome and a better high than any manufactured drug out there. I could lose myself for 20 minutes, an hour, more, who knew? I was just so focused on each pose, not anticipating the next, not celebrating the ones I'd completed but being in it, giving it all I had.
Now? I still hear past teachers reminding me to roll my shoulders back, open my chest, and other lovely little tidbits that improved my practice. I smile when I think of them. But I don't get lost in it. I can't shake the to-do lists from my head, the effort to remember something needing completion after I am done. Abby's food for the next day needing to be thawed, Goober's food dish needing to be filled, an email that needs to be sent. I stare at my legs in standing forward bend and realize I missed a spot shaving.
I feel accomplished at having lost weight, and that I continue to strengthen my body. I am proud when I think of the poses I can expertly work myself into and out of. But I am still lacking the third eye, the inward-gazing monitor who ensures I am on track, not distracted.
So that is my new goal. To leave life at the top of the basement stairs when I descend for my practice and be totally present in yoga so that I may reap the rewards of personal focus and discipline.

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