Thursday, October 7, 2010

Runaway Yoga - Why I've been Avoiding Practicing

Since I've returned to working after a long period of unemployment, I've noticed that my physical practice of Yoga has slowly slipped further and further into oblivion. It wasn't until this week, when I noticed that my neck and shoulders had become so tense and painful from my stagnant posture and nearly constant computer usage, that I realized how badly my body was crying out for some Yoga.

I have not been able to reconcile how, much like a person who feels that they should be exercising - who knows it will be good for them and that they will feel fantastic afterward - still avoids it...finding excuses after excuses.

While I was unemployed, Yoga became my rock. I attended at least 4-5 classes a week and enjoyed practicing at home. Yoga was my religion and the studio was my church. My classmates were my fellow parishioners, and the teachers were the ministers.

While I was ecstatic to return to the workforce earning my own money and being able to once again contribute to our strained household finances, I grieved the loss of Yoga as it had become integrated into my life.

I cried a lot about it at first. I'd notice the clock at the time of day when classes would start and end, sometimes letting out an audible "Ommm" or "Namaste," spiritually in sync with all of my classmates who I missed dearly. They had become part of my social network and routine.

I missed and miss all of the time that I invested in and devoted to self-care. Restorative is my favorite, and boy did I indulge. I also love Hatha and Kripalu, and Sun Salutations were not only my moments to honor the sun in its majesty, but the sequences also served as my form of movement and grace.

So, why have I been avoiding practicing? Why would I avoid something I love so much? Something that brings me pleasure and balance?

I decided to find out tonight. Although there is now a local class in my town, I decided to stay at home. Perhaps it would have done me good to go and join a class of others, and maybe I'll try that next week. But tonight, I went solo.

Accompanied by an online recording, I went from one restorative pose to the next, finally settling in savasana/corpse pose for a good 15 minutes. It was then that emotions began to surface. My body was becoming completely relaxed on a physical level, and I suddenly had an overwhelming wave of grief come over me.

I could feel my eyes swell up with tears. I recognized anger, loneliness, sadness, fear. They all showed up. My mind raced with thoughts about so many things. I realized that I had avoided Yoga because Yoga inevitably causes me to slow down and be in the present. It causes the avoidance to stop and for reality to surface.

I don't exactly know why all of those particular emotions showed up, though I have some theories. I think I am saddened by the metamorphosis of my intense passion as my lifestyle has changed. I think that there are some uncertainties in my life that are difficult for me to think about - so constantly bombarding my mind and space with a myriad of things that keep me from sitting still in thought has been my way of coping. I've been coping by avoiding.

And, I completely love myself for it. It is totally human. It's how we protect ourselves. I also love myself and give myself props for reaching down and grasping these issues and for my willingness to look at them and to grow.

I am, by nature, a very upbeat fairy-like creature who likes to spread joy and hope. In my meditation tonight, I realized that there is another side of me that needs to be nurtured too - the part of me that RECEIVES.

All of the emotions that I experienced can easily be traced to feelings of resentment in my perception of feeling that I give an awful lot of energy and time to several relationships in my life where the return is not quite there. Not that I do things to get things, but typically in healthy, happy, fulfilling relationships it naturally works out that way, and there is a balance.

My intention and hope is to find ways to water seeds of new friendships with others who are looking for mutually rewarding conversations, laughter, and silliness.

I wish the same for you!

I also wish to explore the side of me that is more daring.  The part that considers a small tatoo of the Artist known as Prince's symbol on her lower back. The edgier, more confident, outgoing side. It's in there. She's been supressed for too long, I think. 

And part of the fear is probably around - as I let her surface - will those in my life still like/love me? Will my relationships hold up? How radically might my life change (or not)? I want to explore the part that cares less about what others think of her and how they might judge her.

If you have been drifting from your physical practice, rather than beat yourself up, please consider the reasons why you may be avoiding. Show yourself kind compassion as you would a dear friend, and love yourself through your findings and as you trek on the journey through healing whatever wounds you may discover.

In peace, love, and light...

Debbie aka Sulilo

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