Thankful for yoga

Listening to my "Bringing Sexy Back" mix...

I'm am the opposite of athletic. There are some people that talk about their sports adventures as children, and get a glazed look over their face- drunk with nostalgia. That doesn't happen to me. I remember being picked last for pretty much every team. My desire to run (on purpose) has always been lacking. I don't aspire to run through a muddy obstacle course, or the streets of downtown in my underwear on a chilly winter morning to say I've completed a Cupid Run. Just no. Much like people who hate chocolate, I question the sanity of these folks. We all have our thing. I get it. I've always been an independent exerciser. I'm a team player at work, and that's where it ends. Perhaps it was the dodge ball thing in elementary school, but I equate team sports with the seventh level of hell. I may have issues here.  I prefer quiet alone time at the gym listening to my "Bringing Sexy Back" mix, or binge watching Netflix on the treadmill. I'm a lot like a puppy. I need motivation and treats to keep me going. 

My body needed to move...

We all listen to our body differently. You'll think, wow- I need to eat something green today. Or, shoot- my heart is beating extra fast, maybe I shouldn't have had that 6th cup of coffee. Well, last spring I could tell my body needed to move. Not just on the treadmill, or around the block. It needed to try something that utterly terrified me. It needed yoga. My internal monologue went a little like this:

My body- "You need to do yoga. You're aren't moving enough, and I'm pretty sure it would improve your physical and spiritual wellness."
My head- "Do I look like a yogi to you? Come on! My upper body strength is that of a premature kitten. There is no way I can get into those poses without injuring myself permanently."
My body- "Why do you think people do yoga? To improve their strength. Duh."
My head- "But everyone that goes to yoga classes are super-hipster, teeny, cool 20-somethings, and I'm not."
My body- "You can get new yoga pants."
My head- "Done."

Harry Potter mandalas until I am feeling zen enough...

That's basically how it all went down. As with most major changes, I have to gain motivation by researching, doing my Pinterest thing (motivational memes are my weakness), and coloring Harry Potter mandalas until I feel zen enough to make a move. With my new yoga pants, yoga starter kit, journal (to document), and trendy hippie headband, I was ready to go. Onward to find a YouTube video that would be tolerable enough endure for a maximum or 20-30 minutes- because I'm not going to a studio until I can safely touch my toes. Then I found her. Adriene. Yoga with Adriene is possibly the best yoga resource on the planet. While I haven't tried every resource out there, I can assure you through sheer intuition, and common sense, that I'm right. Not only that, I'm a tough sale. I'm a big princess when it comes to these kinds of things, and any shiny object may derail my best intentions. If I say she's good, she's really that good.

On Adriene's page, she has so many options to get started. I decided to do the 30 day yoga challenge, so I could commit to trying 30 days, and if I didn't feel considerably better in body and soul, I would go back to my semi-sedentary non-committal exercise practice. Fair, yes? I set up my spare room/office/art studio for yoga as well, with twinkle lights (very important), mat, blocks, strap, pillows, and a towel. It was on. While my daughter took her nightly bath, I would retire to my room and give it my best go around. Adriene has a way of meeting the viewer (me) where they are, without the painful assumption that you are already an expert. Her wit, humanness, and unconditional acceptance, drew me into this safe place. I found myself not only enjoying the practice, but craving it throughout my day as a sacred time to fuel my mind and body. I grew to giggle at her yoga lingo, like "Yummy, 'find what feels good', and HEYOO" when she makes an adult pun. She is like an old roommate from college, you fondly look forward to seeing.

This has been an epically hard year for me...

I not only learned the basics of yoga, but to be patient with myself. I became painfully present in balancing poses, forcing me into absolute mindfulness, (or it would end badly). I became more aware of my posture, core muscles, and my toes! I was reminded to breathe, and to smile. My patience oozed out on my parenting, and my daughter started to wonder what had happened to me. I was sharing yoga with my patients, and doing pranayama breathing when frustrated. There was no part of my life that yoga didn't touch, and reshape into something more beautiful. This is been an epically hard year for me. We all have challenges, but when faced with a familial crisis, and general survival, I let the best parts of my self-care dwindle. 

In these last weeks, I have experienced somewhat of a surrender...

These last weeks, I have experienced somewhat of a surrender. I have taken a good look in the mirror and said, "It's your time." I mean it. I'm caring for this body with as much care, and tenderness that I give to my family, to my patients, to everyone, but myself.  While I've committed my life to helping others, it's a constant battle to find my own balance of giving- while not ending up empty on the metaphorical side of the road. I started with my diet, and sleep, then moved on to yoga. As I rolled out my mat in my magical room created for happiness and healing, I greeted Adriene as that old friend. My body, spoke to me as it had so many times before, and said thank you. Happy Gratitude Tuesday. What are you thankful for?

AM