I love yoga. Mostly because its’ rise in popularity made leggings as pants an acceptable practice (at least with most people. If you don’t agree with leggings and pants, you should probably X out of this post immediately before you lose any remaining respect you have for me). If you know me, you know I pretty much live in leggings. I mean, kudos to whoever invented them. People say a good pair of Lululemons is akin to wearing butter, and I agree…if butter is cozy and comfortable and sucks in all the right places. When I’m at the grocery store with no makeup and wearing what could either be pajamas or workout clothes at 6pm (because I undoubtedly just realized we have nothing for dinner), I’m convinced passersby think, “maybe she just left hot yoga” instead of, “she should really get her crap together”. And honestly? That’s a serious win in my book. I’m probably wrong about this theory I tell myself, and people are probably onto my shtick, but I mean…I do workout in leggings, so there’s always a chance .
The problem is that I’ve never actually done much yoga, so when I say “I love yoga”, that’s really only in my idyllic vision of myself. I workout, but yoga has always been so intimidating. I’m not as flexible as I once was, I don’t know the names of each position or how to flow, and I can only imagine how I must look contorting myself (or attempting to) into some of those poses. I feel like me doing yoga would make great memes.
I’m the queen of trying new things, so you probably know where this is going. I am trying yoga. Not just one class, but actually giving it a real go. Andrew has been telling me for years he knows I would love yoga, so I’ve done a class at a gym here or there and then gone back to my 80 Day Obsession or 21 Day Fix or whatever. I like to get pumped up, and do tons of cardio. I don’t like to slow down and deep breathe. We have a gym in our garage, and heading to a yoga studio has just never made much sense in my mind. But with all the soul searching and self-growth I’ve been focused on lately, I’ve realized that guy of mine is probably spot on (he usually knows all the things about me before I know them myself). I need to force myself to breathe, and focus on what God would have me do. I pay for a yearly subscription that includes quite a few yoga series, so I committed to a three week daily practice available for me to do right at home. I did one day of yoga in the garage gym and realized I wasn’t focused much on my breathing when I had sweat dripping from my elbows, so I cleared out a happy little corner in my office. I’m calling it my Zen Den, and I bought a new yoga mat for good measure (mine got minimized in one of our moves, and if I spend money on something, it usually keeps me marginally more committed).
The daily practice of getting still and focusing inward is already making me feel more in tune with myself than I have in a really long time. It’s amazing what thirty minutes of quiet and some deep breathing can do for a woman. I come off the mat focused and energetic, even if it seems like I didn’t work very hard. I won’t lie…physically, yoga makes me very uncomfortable. I basically feel like a very stiff hippopotamus attempting to touch my toes. My hamstrings are tight, my back is tight (is that a thing?), and I have to bend my knees while I do downward dog. I’m not even sure where to start to make those things better. The guy in my video, Vitas, says that discomfort will get better over time, as our bodies strengthen and lengthen. He says we shouldn’t rush or force any pose, but breathe into the discomfort trusting our body’s ability to change, and he says you just have to keep at it. The key is to practice daily, and as you do, you’ll see small, incremental changes. Vitas also says to try not to think while you practice. Maybe I’ll get better at that. Today during down dog, when he said that about trusting our ability to change, I couldn’t help thinking how the awkwardness and discomfort I feel during yoga is a great metaphor for the way I feel in life right now. I almost cried right there on the mat. I feel stiff and tight and like I’m not quite sure where to even begin to open into who I truly am, and who God has called me to be. I want to be able to do amazing things and bend and move in ways I never have, but what I need to do is slow down, breathe, and trust in my ability to change over time. To trust God’s timing.
It’s so hard to not know, to not have a vision of what it is you’re supposed to be. Right now, I can’t really imagine my body actually bending and flexing anymore than I can imagine finding my calling and living in that. But God. He has a divine and perfect plan for my life, one that He will layout for me in His perfect timing. The changes may be incremental, but walking close with Him and doing the daily hard work of growth is the only way change will ever come.
Maybe this yoga thing really will be good for me.