Its fall- nearly a year since I hurt my foot in a strange little incident that was nothing of note. And in that space since last November I have become a beginner again. I am once again a yoga practitioner who is happy to just get on the mat. I feel each long pose, each muscle, and each stretch and opening. I am building strength. My muscle are tight. But I am finally on the mat again and I am grateful.
I live in two worlds. On the one hand I process life very quickly- there is a lightning and mercurial speed that can dictate the way I see the world. This way of being serves me well in some ways, and at other times act as a serious hindrance.
On the other hand- I am slow. Slow to change habits, slow to step into new things. Slow to adapt my routines of self care. There is a part of me that loves the familiar and the habitual. And this is the version of me that was slow to act in caring for myself over the past year. As pain while standing turned into pain while walking anywhere. As pain in my left foot altered my gait and turned into pain in both feet. As I became weaker and my scoliosis flared. As I slowed down, worked more and gained weight. As all of this happened I was slow to see what was happening, slow to own the version of me that was manifesting, and slow to respond. Part denial and part a lack of mindfulness. But at the heart of it was an ever-present cycle of not caring for myself.
Like most “helpers”- professionals from helping traditions- I am quick to act and support others and slow to recognize my own needs. It is only when I show up in the world in a way that is less skilled that I really see the outcomes of my choices. As I look back, my injured foot gave me freedom to step deeply into studio administration and to feed the part of me that loves ideas and projects. At the same time, it gave me a reason to not nourish myself through self care practices. So as the year shifted I took a big step away from feeling free in my body.
And then through another strange set of circumstances- a massive asthma flare up in the summer and a prescription of prednisone- I somehow crossed a threshold. The pain in my right foot subsided. I decided to take control of my need to lose some weight. And I committed myself to the journey back to movement and my mat.
Being on the mat is clarifying for me- in body, mind and heart. Even when I don’t feel like practicing, it serves me and grounds me. And as I now venture away from home practice and back into classes I am feeling stronger, more focussed, and deeply grateful. I am slowly re-creating my image of myself, slowly rewriting the story that had become one of chronic pain and heaviness. It’s becoming one of brightness, agility, contentedness, deep calm, and excitement.
Practice grounds us in presence. As life moves so too does our relationship with the mat. We may be invited to find strength and commitment, or we may be invited to soften and let go of expectations. But the mat is always waiting for us, no matter how long we’ve left it.
I am happy to be back teaching again. In December find me teaching 5:30pm Slow Flow 1 and Wednesday 12:10pm Lunch Flow. Watch as well for my upcoming private yoga sessions available starting mid December.