Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reconnecting with the Self

 Photos via Old Brand New.

We all go through periods of time when we fall away from our practice.

The yoga mat collects dust. Perhaps the body becomes stiff or fatigued, the mind busy. Perhaps we are suffering, and we don’t know how to make time for ourselves, for healing.

Today I am sharing a post from my sponsored yogi Ty about the wonder of becoming present. Even if it’s been a while, yoga is always waiting for us. Today is a good day to practice, whether we are doing asana or simply noticing the breath.

Not that it needs to be said, but life is funny. Sometimes it plays out just the way you hope. Sometimes it throws you a curveball, but you adjust and make the best of it. And sometimes it just consumes you in a manner that—try as you may—takes you away from the things that bring you joy and provides you with a sense of purpose.

I recently found myself navigating one of these moments of consumption. While I felt like it just snuck up on me and stayed for the better part of the summer, hindsight suggests I should have seen it coming. My job had been straining me in many ways for quite some time. Mentally, emotionally, physically . . . it was slowly getting the best of me and turning me into a person that I did not like very much.

I was crabby and yoga-less.

Not knowing the best way to rid myself of the crabbiness, I knew how to address the absence of yoga in my life. So a few weeks ago I grabbed my mat, a towel, and a full bottle of water and headed to a hot yoga class. I was stiff and unable to move with the fluidity I had developed heading into the start of the summer, but something far more important happened on my mat that day. 

As the sweat poured out of me and I did my best to focus on nothing more than my breath, my mind became clear. I embraced the moments that followed and left the studio with a sense of joy.

While the state of euphoria faded later that afternoon, I found myself consumed with my hour of clarity on the mat. It was the first time in months that I felt like myself and I wanted more. A few days later I returned to have a similar experience, rekindling my love of yoga but in a slightly different way. After months off of the mat, the asanas weren’t exactly coming naturally to me. Since my initial foray into yoga was fueled by the physical practice this should have frustrated me, but it didn’t. 

Instead, I became more focused on rooting myself to my mat and getting lost in the cadence of my breath. 

It was a revelation of sorts, one that made me feel like I had the potential to control that funny thing we call life. While some yoga teachers talk and write about yoga’s ability to provide you with the skill set to maintain control of the self, it isn’t something you can wrap your head around until you experience it on your own.

As I have worked to immerse myself in a more regular practice during these last few weeks, I have continued to regain control and have allowed myself to delve into the moments of clarity. If I can offer one piece of advice to anyone reading this, allow yourself to do the same. I am going to continue to do so. Let’s hold each other accountable through communication and community engagement. We will all be better for it. Our community will be better for it. And in time our positive energy will reach far beyond ourselves and make the world a better place.

Thank you, Ty, for this inspiration! I know I can relate fully to your reflections here, and I’m grateful for your courage in sharing so honestly.

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