Have you been watching the show The Cleaner? Who knew Benjamin Bratt could be so captivating?
At one point a character, the father of the addict, said that he was tired of fighting. The advice given? Choose what you care about, but no matter what don't stop fighting.
That, I get. Nothing worth having is ever easy. If I've said it once, I'll say it a million times.
But you do realize too that once you get what you want you have to work even harder to keep it.
People who make it look easy do so not because it actually was a piece of cake.... but because they accepted that the work was worth it. Ease does not come from inaction; it comes from willful acceptance of effort.
I'm willing to put in the time. I make my accomplishments look easy because early in life I realized I had to work hard. Acceptance came to me at a young age. Probably because I wanted a hell of a lot. Heck, I had two jobs or more until I was 30, and here I am doing it again. Why? Because I want more. So I'll work harder.
If you spend more time complaining about something than you do to changing it, think again. All that energy spent being negative could be doing something far more positive. (Seriously, just time yourself for a week. You may be surprised.)
Every hour of every day is a gift. Strike that - an opportunity. Your chance to reach out and grab it. Just expect that when you reach out you may have to achieve a handstand to get a grasp.
Time and energy is limited, spend time treading water or take a deep breath and swim to shore. Your choice.
Week two of my program and here are some thoughts:
1) Headstands are fun but handstands scare the crap out of me. For some reason it is hard for me to keep my gaze between my hands and throw my body up into the air.
2) It seems I am a good nine inches away from being able to do the splits. That is a lot closer than I thought I ever would be, and here I am a fledgling yogi.
3) Classes may talk about the breath in any given day, but they are far, far away from explaining how it interacts with the rest of practice. The really big mental part. The meditation to enlightenment part. Yoga means to bring together opposites, but is that really taught?
4) When faced with decreased down time it is hard to remember that transformation is a good thing. All I could think on the way to the studio tonight was "dammit I don't want to go AGAIN. I just went yesterday!" But mid sun salutation I remembered - this is my chance to grow into something more. And once remembered, class was no longer a chore but a gift.
5) Historically I have always believed that my biggest problem was a lack of discipline. Tonight I realized that I have grown and no longer need to worry about being too lazy. If anything I have to remember to cut myself some slack.
6) The biggest key for me right now is to stop defining myself as the redhead or the girl who fell over on her face from crow or the girl who already meditated every day. I just am and I just need to be. If other people need to define me they can, but there is no need for me to limit myself. Living in NYC I think makes this rather challenging.
There is more, but I'm tired and my poor body needs some rest and my brain needs some deep sleep meditation. Here's hoping for handstand dreams!!
Seems my brain is a little bit on yoga overload. Last night I had yoga nightmares.
It could be partly due to the level that I have immersed myself into practice this week. But I think it is more the anxiety of learning and then being tested. It has been a while since I have had to prove myself from scratch to new people.
Either that or performance anxiety.
Ah well, if you aren't afraid you aren't challenging yourself.
Today I made a really great discovery on my journey through yoga. I realized that when signing up for this series I only considered why I would enjoy the experience, not how I may actually be suited for it.
My natural speaking voice carries. I have a tone that resonates, and my volume tends to be on the stronger side. I have a flair for the dramatic, adding tone and inflection to dialogue.
Huh, good for giving directions to a room full of people who are hanging upside-down.
Never occurred to me until today.
This week I have practiced three times at the studio already, out of four days of the week. It is clear to me how much an instructor can make or break your yoga experience. Astoundingly so.
There is so much to absorb, between theory and breathing and poses and Sanskrit and and and...
One lesson stuck with me tonight. To accept again that I Don't Know.
My job consists of me knowing everything, answering every question. Even when I don't actually have an answer to a question I do have a clear path to discovering the required information. Somewhere along the line I have become a know-it-all.
So here I am now, letting go. I DO NOT know everything. In fact, I only know a little bit about a very few things.
Looking back, I remember how enjoyable life was when I absorbed information. I miss that.
Therefore I resolve that I will be open to learn again. And keep learning.
We started the day with a two-hour yoga practice. And you know what? I am officially the sweater of the class. As in perspiration.
Sure, other people were dripping here and there, beads of liquid forming on skin. But me? RIVERS of sweat. Every time we would go from a standing pose to bend over three drops would hit my mat.
Without exaggerating I can easily say that I was five times as damp as anyone else in the room.
The fact that I get a little sweatier than most is not really a surprise; I had the same issue running. But in yoga you can't wear a baseball cap to soak most of it up.
Luckily I had already discovered a tool to help me with this challenge in my practice. A marvelous invention called yogi toes. It is terrycloth overlay to your yoga mat that absorbs sweat and keeps you from sliding. Because liquid plus rubber = rockstar yogi landing on her ass.
It is compact, light, and machine washable - so it also is a much more hygienic surface to practice on. Which comes in mighty handy if you happen to rent a mat at your studio.
The rest of the day was a lot of leaning and a few more poses. All the basic stuff so far. Can't wait to see how I feel once we start doing inversions all day...
For those of you who didn't know, today I attended the first day of a twelve-week yoga teacher certification course. Two hundred hours of learning anatomy, Sanskrit, teaching skills, business practices, and of course yoga poses up the wazoo.
Don't worry...I'm not quitting my day job. (Well, not yet.)
My knee has healed quite a bit over time. I am able to use the elliptical machine, bike, walk up to two miles in one shot, and - of course - do yoga. To be honest, once I increased the frequency of my yoga practice my knee's health improved significantly.
A while ago I made a list of the things I wanted in a job, what I wanted in my life on a daily basis. It was:
Open work schedule (avoiding nine to five gig) Wear comfy clothes Be my own boss Not have any direct report employees Look forward to work at least half of the time Be a positive influence on the world
After bouncing around the list it just occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, becoming a yogi could fit the bill.
The idea of quitting a regular safe steady day job scares the crap out of me. And signing up for the class was even more terrifying. What if I wasn't thin enough? Flexible enough? Spiritual enough? Pretty enough? Graceful enough? Yoga-ish enough?
When I received the email welcoming me to the program it is an understatement to say I was thrilled and relieved. But next came the hard part.
Walking the walk.
Today was the first day of class, from nine am to six pm. Tomorrow is more of the same. I do the whole weekend thing six more times, and every week I also have two weeknight classes lasting two hours each. Plus twelve hours of observation in my own time. And I read three books and write three papers.
Oh, and of course at the end I have to take a couple of certification tests and demonstrate that I can teach.
You would think with that schedule I would feel overwhelmed. But I gotta tell you I am just plain stoked. Over the next twelve weeks I am going to learn a new skill and discover things about myself and twenty-two other people. At the end I may not have a new career, but I will have traveled a new road and will be all the wiser for it.
The lead instructor suggested we all journal, and after class today I felt the call to blog. The class was positive, consisting of introductions, some basic anatomy, teaching theory, and a little practice.
Of all the moments the one that hit me the hardest was that after several hours of studying bodies in the room of all shapes and sizes, resting and in motion, I glimpsed myself in the mirror and for the first time in I don't know how long I was perfectly happy with what I saw.
That is a big deal. Normally I cringe seeing my reflection. But today my first thought was actually, "Huh, I look fine. Why am I so obsessed with looking different?"