Most people I know are aware of how important yoga is to me in my life. What they may not know is what I’ve never written about; that it can sometimes leave me confused and frustrated, wrought with angst over the time spent fighting my own body to do what I tell it to do. It’s hard to understand if you’re not a practitioner. Strangely, it’s almost as hard if you are.
Yesterday’s class was the first in ages that left me feeling more confused than enlightened.
I’ve been processing it since I rolled up my mat to go home.
There’s a saying in yoga to, “leave it on the mat,” but this is sometimes easier said than done.
So what was it that has gotten me so perplexed?
1. The class was a fire practice where we generated heat through vinyasa (flowing movement through breath, anji mudra (clasped hands with pointed forefingers), and kriyas (repetitive and fast one minutes of movement meant to prepare the body for meditation). The fire that is built also leaves a person drenched in a pool of sweat (or having achieved maximum detoxification, depending on how you look at it).
2. My time on the mat was unbalanced. One moment I would be flowing just fine and out of nowhere would lose balance and fall over.
a. I held tree pose on the left (was even able to throw in a little backbend with pointed hands overhead), but couldn’t do so on the right.
b. I had moments of bliss like when I “flipped my dog” to the left, a full expression looking a lot like a rainbow, but found my right tricep so stiff and refusing to budge (like it hit a wall) making the possibility of a flip impossible.
c. My one legged chaturangas felt better than ever until my wrists locked up making it necessary to sit out the final vinyasa flow.
d. Even crow (my nemesis), which I can never get into properly became yin and yang. From chair pose down to a high toed squat I found the perfect placement for the perfect crow. But just like that, with all the concentration in the world, it didn’t last and my placement slid. It was over.
e. Half-moon was a cruel joke. Determined to make it work on the right (after massive failure on the left) I ran out of the room for a block to help me out. When it was time to try I leaned forward to find solid hand placement on the block, but despite all of my determination, struggled until the class had moved on.
3. The clarity in my mind led to more confusion, if that makes any sense at all. I felt clear, but confused. Fog that I didn’t know had been present in my head had lifted, but left in its place was an emptiness.
I must have looked like my own little island out there alone. I surely felt that way. Around me were nine glorious female souls focused and floating strong on calm waters. I envied the clear skies and smooth energy above them. How elated they must have felt after class having found strength from the fire.
After all of this pondering the simplest explanation is that yesterday’s practice was a mirrored reflection of how my internal fire has been flickering. I’m fighting for balance, trying to find my way on rocky seas, hitting walls that I wish could just be crashed through.
But it is what it is and I’m finally ready to leave it on the mat.
First things first, I need to go and clean off the remnants from what happened there yesterday with Manduka mat cleaning spray and a damp towel.
At least I’ll be sure that my next practice will begin on a freshly cleaned slate.
Do you meditate? Do you have days like this on the mat? What do you do when your time on the mat brings up stuff that you would rather not deal with? How do you move forward?
The hub for all I do, marthawills.com documents life from a working mom's point of view. When not mothering, I manage the social media needs of small businesses through Wills Media Group, LLC, and write a weekly column for Raleigh's News & Observer online entitled, Are We There Yet? Most recently, my passion for health and wellness led me to become involved as a consultant for Beautycounter, a company that's making a difference by educating about toxins in products, spreading the word via the web.
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