There was a time when I found my way to my yoga mat each day for hours on end. Even when I was training 22 hours a week for Iron-distance triathlons for weeks on end, I ended my day on the mat. That time allowed me to continue to push myself to all boundaries, provided the clarity that I needed in a foreign country in uncharted territory. But most of all, it allowed me to observe the realms under my own skin, deep in my own psyche and soul.
To every thing, turn, turn, right? Many yogis and yoginis report that their practices fall in and out of practice, based on the roller coaster that is life; we lean more on the the mat, find it more frequently in different ways and this is welcome – yoga is a tool we employ in life.
I walked through the rain last night to my first yoga class in I don’t know how long, so excited to find myself in the studio again and painfully aware that many of those same realms that I discovered before have morphed and should be explored again. An hour and a half of complex standing sequences, arm balances, headstands, deep side body stretching, the release of the my intercostals and expansion of my thoracic spine later, I lay like a literally wet noodle in a dark room with 25 others whom had just had their karma kicked by our amazing instructor. It appears that the muscles surrounding my heart and lungs were especially tight – so much that they required much effort to allow them to release and open up again. Not to mention my thighs. Have mercy.
I was reminded of how we all have self-doubt, somewhere. How we must all stop to observe, no matter how naturally observant we are. After all of these months on the road, of pursuing the direction my little compass heart was indicating, I was reminded that breathing while charting a course makes it all the easier to find your way (though evidently it is completely possible to do so without breathing, just less comfortable.)
I walked home again in the rain, grateful, soaking, and smiling. I don’t anticipate a time in life when hours and hours will be spent on the mat on a regular basis – not with all of the changes going on. But likely, its not the quantity but the quality of our observations and breaths that count the most.