It didn’t take me long to get off my game. I finished class #8 of my 10-day Yoga Challenge at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night and spent Saturday virtually yoga-free, except for one sun salutation in the morning. When I finally returned today at 4:00 p.m., it felt at the start like that 44-hour break might as well have been a year.
I tried to live like a yogi in my being during my off day, but it was difficult between planning for a kitchen remodel, scurrying to find the belly-decorating henna I was supposed to have bought ahead of time for two friends’ motherblessing, waking up my baby to go to her babysitter’s wedding, and then leaving after 45 minutes because the ceremony hadn’t started yet and I had to get to the motherblessing where I would for the first time in over a year see a friend who “broke up” with me when I was 7 months pregnant.
I do credit my yoga this past week with helping me rally and actually stay for the blessing though I was in tears upon arriving. I knew the “story” I was telling myself about myself not belonging there was not going to help my friends feel honored or loved. It would serve only my own self-sabotage. So I tried to let it go and hold onto the higher purpose of the evening.
I’m so glad I stayed. It was important to my pregnant friends, and I actually felt a little bit healed. I did have to take my exhausted baby and my hungry self home before the festivities concluded, but I made it to the end of the ceremony. As I drove home on a gorgeous June evening in a quiet car with a sleeping baby, I envisioned the little darling would play sleep catch-up and be out for the night.
The baby appreciated the lovely evening so much, she wanted to give me a chance to enjoy it, apparently, because she woke upon returning home, which led me to the conclusion that I’d just take her for a walk when it got a dark. I was glad for the opportunity to be out but could not believe she lasted a full half-hour in the stroller before she shut her eyes at 9:00 p.m. On top of that, my five-year-old son had, for the first time in over a year, actually taken a nap, of course while I was out. Having been, in my husband’s words, “unwakeable” for two hours, the little devil was still wide awake at 10:00, outlasting his dad while hockey played on the TV despite my husband’s shut eyes.
It was like the world tipped its head to the side and laughed at us.
We made the best of it, though. Both LJ and I went to sleep in the boy’s room so we wouldn’t wake the baby, still in her stroller insert in the big bedroom. It felt a little like old times, just the three of us, and I enjoyed snuggling with my boy, a rare treat.
So, when I finally got back to class this afternoon and the teacher asked us to set an intention, the word “Play” came to me in half a beat. If I take everything completely seriously, I’m missing out on letting it be fun. Why can’t I approach all this stuff I am so passionate about from the perspective of how luck I am that I get to “play” with so many “toys?”
It can feel like a burden to have so many interests, pursuits, friends, and communities, but I really am privileged to be able to stay home and pursue them. They are luxuries I would likely pine for if I were working outside the home at a job that wasn’t miraculously addressing everything I love. It can be both a blessing and a curse to never be able to turn of my mind or to rarely say no to anything. But what if I decided to just count my blessings as blessings?
It was helpful that the teacher reminded us several times to stay true to our intention. And then, late in the class, she had us approaching crow, a pose I have never done because I have never had the upper body strength. I had to smile when, noticing that folks were not exactly moving into it easily, offered, “Just play with it.”
Yoga can be about many things, and one is joy. I’ve known for a long time that doing bridge pose does something to my adrenal glands that makes me feel awash in a warm, calm happiness. (That’s why I did it the morning my daughter was born, ostensibly to help me get back to sleep at 5:30 a.m. Instead it broke my water, and 4.5 hours later, I had a baby in my arms!)
I have to give props to the teacher for her amazing “savasana assist” in which she raised and swung my legs like a lymphatic chi machine and then pressed a few points on my feet that gave me the impression she’d found my “play” button. It was as though she’d released a rush of serotonin or oxytocin or some other great body chemistry cocktail. I would come back just for that!
So by the time I left, I felt much more integrated and back in the game. One more day to go before I have to start paying for this stuff more than $1 a day.
Have you ever had a clear and profound physical or emotional change that seemed directly connected to a yoga pose?
Other posts in this series:
Day Nine: “Play”