Some days my time on my mat is effortless (more or less). It is a pleasant time of solitude, in which time seems to fly. The yoga poses are ones of ease and I am able to melt into them with each breath that I take. It is an enjoyable practice and is the type of practice that I hope to repeat. Of course, a perfect practice does not dwell within us every time; it’s not meant to be. Growth does not occur when everything is easy and smooth. Perfect.
Last week, I had the class where everything was difficult. Instead of having a lightness to my practice, every time I jumped forward and back, it was as if I was flinging a bag of cement from one end of my mat to the other. You can imagine how exhausting it is throwing over 100 pounds of cement around! While I was doing my sitting postures, I began to lose heart. I just didn’t feel like doing it anymore. I wanted to bail on the jump-throughs. I had been half heartedly doing them for a bit and now I wanted to quit them altogether. No one would notice, right?
As I sat there, looking around to see what my teacher was doing; “would they notice if I bailed the vinyasa between sides?”, I began to have second thoughts and I made the conscious decision that I would not bail. I decided that this was my defining moment. Not every practice was meant to be easy and today I would have to beat back the laziness. I took a deep breath, planted my hands and heaved my heavy-ass body backwards and took my vinyasa and hopped back through and landed with a thump. One vinyasa down.
As I took a deep breath and folded forward, I couldn’t help but lament at the fact that I was trying to bend steel. What happened to my malleable muscles? My muscles were warm, that wasn’t the problem. It was as if my body just didn’t want to let go. It was holding on for dear life, refusing to release something. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but now that a few days have passed, I now have some perspective. What I didn’t know was that I had a migraine coming and my body was already building up tension and going into self defense mode.
I did learn a valuable lesson that day about my practice and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
- Not all practices are going to be easy; THAT IS OKAY
- Tough practices test your:
- Physical endurance
- Mental willpower/determination
- Be kind to yourself
- Learn to listen to your body (why is this practice so hard)
As I sit here on the couch, fighting back another migraine, I know that I will have many more good days than bad days on my mat. When the bad days do come, I’ll be prepared to fight; beat back the laziness, fling around that heavy bag of cement and bend steel.
Reason #345 why I practice Ashtanga yoga 😀