This is a personal letter to my yoga practice, published in Elephant Journal, Nov ’14…Cheryl x
Dear yoga practice: I miss you.
We used to be great friends, but lately I’ve felt you slipping away.
I want to be honest and tell you that I’ve been harbouring strange feelings towards you, to the point that sometimes I can’t be bothered to work at our relationship anymore. I know this sounds harsh, so I’m reaching out to you. What can we do? We used to have a great thing going. Do you think we can get this back?
I think I’ve discovered the root of why I have been feeling like I can’t quite keep up with things these days, whether it is my yoga practice or parenting skills that come under the microscope. It’s the reason why my ego tells me I am not quite good enough, slim enough, bendy enough, strong enough…
Springtime in Middle America, where Lisa lives, would lead you to believe Mother Nature is a bit off-kilter. One day it’s cold and rainy, the next day it’s hot and humid. And lately, this imbalance has even caused tornadic activity. At least that’s what they’re calling it in the news. Amidst all of this stormy weather, Lisa shares her thoughts on balance…
Even if you live in predictably sunny Dubai, perhaps you can relate to Mother Nature. I know I can. Sometimes the balancing act that is my life looks and feels more like severe weather…electric outbursts and pouring tears, interspersed with moments of quiet and calm, reminiscent of the lull after a Midwestern thunderstorm.
If the mind were a theatre of the future, I’d have front row tickets. Heck, as a seasoned visitor, they’d give me the VIP box.
Forget the past, it’s the future I’m finding myself wrapped in…from the virtually decorated nursery to my baby’s first steps. I am not saying we should not feel free to dream about what lies ahead. But when it starts consume the majority of this moment, it can become a bit of a headache!
When it comes to the common list of the world’s top ten most stressful things, I realized that I am on my way to ticking off two of those culprits. Not only is the kidney bean in my belly now en route to becoming a large bell pepper, we are also in the process of trying to sell our home and buy a new one. Between pregnancy and houses, if you could look inside my head right now it would probably resemble the picture on the right…
For the last few weeks, I don’t think I have had a split nano second between my thoughts, let alone a full moment spent in the present. (The present? Sorry, can’t be there right now, too much to plan!) The wild horses of my mind have literally busted out of the fields and are running amuck…how the hell do I reign the beasts in?
When it comes to the next yama on yoga’s list – Asteya or non stealing– it all seems pretty clear cut. After all, we have probably had this drummed into us from an early age. Hopefully we are not in the habit of doing our weekly shop and scooting out without paying! But what if I told you there could be more to it than that?
It’s only yoga…so why do we constantly beat ourselves up on our mats? Whether it is judging our bodies, comparing our practice to someone else’s or forcing our limbs into something they are not ready for, our mat can often become a battleground of sweat, pain and judgement! It got me thinking, how often do we forget that yoga is more than just physical?
When it comes to the practice of yoga postures or asana, we can get caught up in the notion that this is the only tool in the yoga box. In fact, asana is the third rung on the ladder of what is known as the eight limbs of yoga. This path to enlightenment was laid down in Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras a long time before we ever had funky yoga clothing and studios. As one of the founding fathers of yoga, Pantajali was a guy who knew what he was talking about. Before we even get into the physical, he highlighted two things we should tackle – the yamas and the niyamas. I like to think of them as yoga’s little moral and ethical codes, and over the next few weeks we will take a look at each one and how they can relate to our yoga and life.
I remember chuckling to myself a good few years back when my yoga teacher was talking about the link between yoga and our emotions. I mean, who cries on their yoga mat? Ha! Not me, I thought. I’m far too ‘together’ for that. Nope, you won’t catch me sniffling in savasana, or welling up in wheel pose…
Then during my first teacher training, it happened. There I was just chilling out in child’s pose when one of the teachers pressed down on my back. It was as though she had found the switch for my tear ducts. It took me completely by surprise…I mean, tough old me? Who would have thought!