Through the practices of yoga, we discover that concern for the happiness and well being of others, including animals, must be an essential part of our own quest for happiness and well being. The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on Earth. – Sharon Gannon
It’s October. Vegan MoFo has launched, and my month of yoga has limped across the finish line. I committed to practicing each day during September, and I think I did a decent job. I missed four or five days, which out of 30 is 16% or something. If I’d been taking an exam, I’d have about an 84%. I think. Someone with actual math skills may come along and tell me I was flirting with a D-.
Why am I trying to quantify my success? Why am I framing this in terms of success at all? I have no idea. I think I wanted—my expectations getting the best of me again—to have a yoga epiphany, to desperately long to spend hours practicing Sun Salutations. Instead, most evenings I dragged myself downstairs to my mat, yawning as I pushed back into Downward Dog and sighing with relief as I sank into Child’s Pose.
Y’all, I am tired. I don’t know why, but I just want to sleep for a week. If I could fall sleep on my back, I would have passed out during every Savasana like it was my job. (Why do I use the Sanskrit names half the time and the English translations the other half? I have no idea.) I was fidgety and itchy and wanted nothing more than to rush through my practice so I could go to bed. This happened more frequently than I care to admit.
At the same time, I noticed some changes. For one, I don’t need a class or a teacher or even a DVD to practice. For another, some days I can actually feel my body responding. I’m not a huge fan of the Warrior Poses or standing side bends, but I did them the other night. My obliques felt nicely stretched out the next morning. I reminded myself that I wasn’t half-assing it if all I could do was a few Cat-Cow rolls before bed, even if I did them in bed. I treated myself gently, shortening a practice when my right shoulder acted up. (What it’s acting up about, I have no clue. Maybe that’s my weaker side.) I think I can fold more deeply into Seated Forward Bend, though I definitely need to get back to weight-training if I want to get anywhere with arm balances.
I also discovered that I enjoy Seane Corn’s teaching style. I borrowed two of her DVDs from the library, and found the first one easy to follow and free of annoying yoga-speak. You know the kind. I was looking forward to the second DVD, but when I popped it in, I found…the first DVD. Again. The library had another copy of the first session in the second session’s case, with the second session nowhere to be found. I cracked up, then followed some of the practice anyway. I’m going to have to talk with the library when I return the DVDs.
I don’t think I’ll be practicing yoga every single day. Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m trying to listen to my body, and if sometimes my body just wants to take a long shower, paint her toenails, and go to bed early, that’s good too. I love yoga, and I’ve loved exploring it during this past month. Now I know that I can create my own practice (thanks, Eco Yogini!), and I’m more confident about deepening my relationship with yoga. And that means knowing when to take the night off.
Photo ripped from Zazzle.