Lessons From the Yoga Mat
I love yoga. Mostly.
The other times I hate it and want to cry. There doesn’t seem to be any in between, but I’m discovering that each time I feel anger towards the teacher, myself and the entire practice of yoga surfacing there is a lesson to be learned. Of course, lest you think I’m all enlightened and realise that as I’m going through it, I’m not and I don’t.
These lessons come AFTER the class.
After the tears, the struggle and just staying on the mat.
When I was in Cambodia last year with my one year old kidlet (yes, it can be done!) and hubster, I also set myself a yoga challenge: every day for the entire trip.
So I went to a class in Siem Reap, near Angkor Wat. It was called a Flow Class, so I was thinking it would be something like a yin class. Big mistake young grasshopper.
This is what I learned during the struggle of that class:
1. I get attached to expectations.
I got the sh!ts that the class wasn’t all zen and yin-y. I kept thinking ‘’this isn’t what I expected’ and getting all rage-y in my head.
It kind of reminded me of the time before I was diagnosed with post-natal depression when I was raging around the house, just trying to keep everyone alive, thinking ‘I never thought my life would be like this, this isn’t what I ever wanted ‘.
I had expectations of external circumstances and they weren’t being met, and I couldn’t manage my reaction to that.
2. I sometimes fall into the trap of valuing the outcome over the effort, and if I don’t think I can master something immediately I want to give up.
A couple of times I wanted to leave because it was too hard and I couldn’t do it all. But I took child’s pose and stayed.
Another lesson that my amazing coach had been working on with me all last year – the journey is the destination. There’s no end point, and if you are always racing to the end, then you miss out on what’s happening right in front of you. So if you can’t appreciate the way to a pose, why will you appreciate it when you can get it?
3. I am not in love with my body (myself?).
I actually did clearing work on ‘I’m sick of being fat’ during the class and trying to welcome in ‘Strong and Sexy’.
It also highlighted that I don’t tend to look at what I’m doing right but rather where I’m lacking. Instead of focusing on the fact that my arms and legs were holding me up, and my breath was strong and keeping me stable, and I was staying and trying my best, I thought about my fat rolls.
And I know I’m not alone with this one.
Now before you think that enlightenment happens when you travel, and these lessons only came to me because I was out of my normal routine and sweating out the Cambodia humidity, this happens to me at home as well.
A few weeks ago, I went to a yoga class with Emee from Power Living. Again, it was harder than I expected (there are those pesky expectations surfacing again). Again I got angry and upset, and learned a few things about myself:
4. It’s important to listen to my body.
I knew I was tired on my way to the studio, because I have a one year old. If you have kidlets, unless you are the luckiest person on the planet and I would like to know your secrets please, you know what I mean. Child = tired.
But I decided to push through the tiredness and go anyway. To a 90 minute open class, so I wasn’t taking it easy on myself!
5. Strength is often found when you’re at your weakest.
So once again, I was tired and had the sh!ts. And maybe I hated the teacher. I wanted to leave for most of the class, but somehow talked myself into staying. I almost cried. I spent a lot of the class in Childs pose.
But then after my near-tears, the relief of shavassana and the pride I felt at staying on the mat, no matter what was going on suddenly opened me up.
I actually smiled and laughed with the teacher, who only minutes before I’d be screaming at (only in my head! But she knew. Ohhh she knew).
And I went home feeling better. About myself, my body, my baby and my life.
If you want to join me to learn some lessons on (and off) the yoga mat I have exciting events coming up in Melbourne and Sydney and would love for you to join me!
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