It’s been only eight days since I completed my 10-Day Yoga Challenge, but I broke the daily yoga and writing habit in a big way. My last class was on Monday, and on Tuesday night I was up until nearly 1 a.m. preparing food for a surprise road trip to my sister’s on her 50th birthday. Since I have such a specific diet with no starchy vegetables or grain (in addition to no gluten, dairy, corn or soy), everything I would eat all day the next day had to be made from scratch: “pancakes” of egg, nuts and vegetables, turkey burger, apples with no skin, soaked and low-heat-dried nuts, and homemade broth with veggies. This is what I usually eat: I just don’t usually have to prepare it all for a complete day the night before.
My other sister and I began our drive Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. The trip up I-95 and back later that night took a total of 9.5 hours of driving when it should have taken about 7. It would have helped if the baby had gone to sleep and hadn’t made us stop an extra two times, but the delays were mostly about construction or something invisible but clogging.
Even with my sister riding shotgun and valiantly staying in conversation, I could barely stay awake the last hour. We pulled up to my house at 12:30 a.m. early Thursday morning, and just as I was about to get the baby back to sleep from the carseat into her crib, her brother fell out of bed and split his lip open on the nightstand. He was a wreck, unwilling even to take homeopathy. When it happened, I’d been almost asleep in the rocking chair, exhausted and still feeling the vibration of the road through my weary body. But then all four of us were up with lights on, trying to figure out what the heck had happened.
So after completing my yoga challenge on Monday, I went way far afield. It was amazing that I didn’t collapse or snap on Thursday, but I actually felt okay. It was as though I’d done a detox diet to cleanse in advance of competing in a hot dog eating contest. The unhealthiness of two late nights and a lot of time on the road probably didn’t hit me as hard because of the yoga foundation and all that extra oxygen I’d stored up.
I kept my son home on Thursday, his penultimate day of preschool and got a taste of summer life without school or childcare. Then Friday and the weekend were packed, not to mention incredibly hot. So, when I learned that Virginia Yoga Week was launching Sunday, I was both excited and overwhelmed by all the opportunities I would probably not be able to take advantage of. So many free and cheap classes! New studios to visit! Different traditions to try! In order to keep track of my options amid other scheduled events for the week, I took one of my son’s sheets of painting paper and made myself a giant chart for the week.
This way I was able to see that it would probably be wise to try out sunrise yoga at Pies Fitness Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. I got everything all ready to go and paid my special yoga week rate of $5 online the night before. But then I got to bed too late. Again. So when my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., I first decided sleep was more important than another challenge. But then I rallied, convinced I probably wouldn’t get back to sleep or successfully undertake a practice of my own for more than 15 minutes. I was too tired to write and too worried about making noise in a sleepy house to clean.
So I rushed outside in the yoga tank I’d set out the night before and was amazed how profoundly it felt like a new world. It was cool. Chilly, even! It was as though my skin could breathe instead of just push away the humidity.
I zipped to the studio and arrived just a few minutes late. There was only one other student, and the teacher was kind and understanding. After a brief centering, I knew it had been wise to come to remind myself to cultivate a sense of awe and reverence for life. We were called to set an intention, and what came to me was to be grateful and enjoy the life I have with my children and husband.
This sounds simple and obvious, but at a time when I am facing a summer with a non-napping and loud preschooler, and a baby who no longer predictably naps, and a husband who is not at the top of his happy game on the heels of his 40th birthday, I’ve been stuck focusing on how to just make things work and get my needs met. In that space, I sometimes forget to enjoy the moment I’m in.
As Momma Zen author Karen Maezen Miller said when I heard her speak back in April at Lil Omm yoga studio, the present moment is the only moment there is at that moment. It’s impossible not to live in it. The choice is in how you experience that living — as a joy and privilege or as a chore, something to get through.
So the call to set an intention was a gift for me to greet my day from a place of wonder and gratitude.
We did a lot of sun salutations, and I realized I was already out of shape again from the gains I’d made during my challenge, something that gives me some pause if I’m going to attend the Anusara Grand Circle or Wanderlust next week.
It was also clear that I was still way underslept and way overtired. As I am now.
Perhaps tomorrow I will get up early and set an intention and undertake a practice while the house is still quiet.
Perhaps tomorrow I will write about the yoga class took with my son today and last Tuesday. I usually like to return later to my writing before I hit Publish, but that feels silly now, even if this post wouldn’t pass the test in an essay workshop.
Because right now, I am exhausted and need to sleep. I did need to write, and I would like to add links, not to mention go spend a bunch of time in the kitchen to save me time in the morning. But in this moment, my body needs rest. So that is what I will give it.