Monday, March 14, 2011

Put It Down

I made a huge life decision a couple of weeks ago, and while the process (deciding, going through with it, dealing with it) has been painful, I've already experienced a lightness I have not known for a long time.

As all regular practitioners of anything disciplined already know, your practice reflects what goes on inside. (I am also learning that how you treat others is pretty much an inversion of how you treat yourself, but that's a whole other blog!) I know this intellectually, but it hard to feel it inside at all times. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when reading a post by The Lady J. In it, she was expressing gratitude for being able to let go of her "life" and just focus on what was happening for 90 minutes. The lovely LalaPiggy confirmed that she, too, knew freedom from those stressors when she was in the hot room.

I've been having such awful classes lately that I could hardly believe what I was reading. My stuff has weighed on me like a ball and chain when at yoga.Yes, the classes brought relief, but only because I suffered so tremendously when I was there that I was simply yoga-stoned by the time it was over. I would spend the majority of the class pondering things going on in my life.

It even manifested in very specific physical hindrances. For months now, I could not kick my leg out and hold it the entire time. Ever. Either set. I couldn't get my head to the floor in separate-leg-stretching pose, and this is a girl who has been doing yoga since she was 16.

But now that I made that choice, I feel like I've put a tremendously heavy weight down, and I can simply go further than I could before. Sometimes, I can hold my leg out the whole time, the kicking leg getting closer and closer to being flexed. I can also usually get my forehead to the floor.

Nothing, of course, is much different in my world. I still wake up, go to work, grade papers, play with kitties, read, write, do yoga, watch tv, see friends and family, sleep, and start the whole thing over. On one level I can see so clearly that what causes us stress is just the thoughts. It's arguing with reality that freaks us out, and that war is fought entirely in our heads. I can also see, though, that sometimes you just gotta put some things down in order to move forward and kick that leg straight.

No advice here, just reflections. Thanks for reading! :-)


Lala said...

great, honest post. so glad to see that you're feeling better (and kicking that leg straight to boot)!

a few weeks ago i was finally breaking through (or so i thought) on my back bend until i couldn't go any further. then my instructor said 'maybe you aren't ready..'

that thought sat in my head for awhile til i finally figured out what he meant.

now let's go kick some straight legs out! hee.

Lady J said...

It's so hard to let things go sometimes. Especially when you're staring yourself in the mirror. Last May every class was wracked with pain - I was grieving over the death of my Oma (grandma). And eventually I was able to let it go. It sure took a while, though. I think that these emotions are sometimes more powerful when we practice our yoga because we are more aware of how we react to things.
I'll be thinking about you in my next class:-)

Josie said...

I second Lady J's comment above. Especially when you're in front of the mirror doing yoga, it's so hard let things go, including your thoughts about what's going on at the moment. I have this little tea tag taped to the back of my phone as a constant reminder, which says, "One of the best actions we can take, with courage, is to relax". Though I'm not sure if this act of "relaxing" echo with your sentiments in putting things down or letting things go, I had definitely experienced similar struggles as you before I could come to terms with letting go the things that bothered me so and relaxing eventually. And it really took a lot of courage and strength in to relaxing and being okay with wherever I am at the moment in my state of being, mind, in my yoga practice. Then, like in life, things are always in ebbs and flux. I've begun to understand that putting things down are so important because the process creates room for resolution, new found strength, coming to know your SELF.

I'm constantly thinking about you even though we haven't talked in a while. Sending good vibes to you, my dear friend. :)

Catherine said...

Congratulations on the rediscovered lightness, friend! It's a good feeling when doing the tough work is rewarded.

Josie, I love the tea tag quote! It resonates with me. :)

Yolk E said...

I love the quote too! And I also agree, Josie, that we can't force ourselves to "just relax." It's not an action you can make happen.

Good point about the awareness, J. I was just reading how relying on drugs, food, alcohol, whatever numbs ourselves to what we're feeling, thereby slowing down the progress, but stuff like yoga makes you really face it. Hopefully, it'll propel us forward, and we'll all be cured next year ;-)

abrazos a todos! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm about to go to yoga, with a decision weighing heavily upon me as well, so thank you for this. x0