I was honestly willing to spend the entirety of winter break catching up on Shameless and sleeping in until 12 pm every single day. Actually, I'll probably still do that for the most part, but I ended up doing something else that I never really thought I would actually try: yoga. Yeah, if you know me in person you can laugh at me or with me. How ironic it is that the "least chill" person you know is trying to to stay in parivrtta ardha chandrasana/ revolved half moon pose (well more like the triangle pose because I can barely touch my toes) for a full three breaths. And by yoga I'm not necessarily talking about the lululemon leggings and matching sweater, doing poses on the side of a scenic mountain.
Also, I say "least chill" with a lighter tone because by that I mean I struggle with anxiety (the last understatement of the year I'll make). This year was one of the first times I ever slowed myself down enough to even think about self-care. Yoga is something that comes to mind when I think about something that completely focuses on the present and embracing the flow of everything around you.
I've done yoga before, if you count trying to get into warrior 1 on a towel at a bluegrass music festival. In other words I never really gave it a shot, as I use to think that me attempting to do yoga was a joke even though I know that it could probably really help me. So last Monday, the first of the month long winter break, I decided to go to the ashram near me and go to a yoga class: Vinyasa 1 & 2.
I was waiting in the lobby downstairs and I already could smell the faint smell of incense. Would it be humorous if I said that I was actually quite nervous? Yeah, I was anxious about doing breathing exercises and doing cat cow in an empty room with a lot of candles and plants. Fortunately, that anxiety slowly left me as the class started.
Taking two classes is not much of a sample size, so I can't conclude something broad like "Wow yoga changed my life, this should be a trend for 2018!!" However, I will mention that it is so so so rare when my mind is not racing 25/8 and I am not preoccupied about every detail around me, and during the 90 minutes at the ashram, I was truly able to leave 90% of my anxious thoughts out the door. There is something about the calm voice of the person teaching the class with the melodic sounds of the music that sucks me into the present. I feel like we often forget to breathe, like deeply breathe, so the chance to reflect on the very moment and breathe through movements was incredibly soothing.
Here are some parts from a poem the yoga instructor or "yogini" read at the end of a class, that resonated with me.
The poem is titled "Being Human" by Naima PennimanI wonder if the sun debates dawn
not wanting to rise
out of bed
from under the down-feather horizon
if snow flakes get sick
of being perfect all the time
trying to be one-of-a-kind
I wonder if stars wish
upon themselves before the die
if they need to teach their young
how to shine
I wonder if shadows long
to just-for-once feel the sun
if they get lost in the shuffle
not knowing where they’re from
I wonder if sunrise
respect each other
even though they’ve never met
I wonder if breath ever thinks of suicide
if the wind just wants to sit
and watch the world pass by
I wonder if the snow wants to be black
if the soil thinks she’s too dark
if butterflies want to cover up their marks
if rocks are self-conscious of their weight
if mountains are insecure of their strength
I wonder if waves get discouraged
crawling up the sand
only to be pulled back again
to where they began
where the moon goes
when she is in hiding
I want to find her there
and watch the ocean
spin from a distance
listen to her
stir in her sleep
effort give way to existence
I think figuring out what yoga means to one is something that varies from person to person, as the practice is all about stilling the outside noise one hears and channeling that noise into something that resembles calmness. Most people, including myself often try to find fulfillment outside of ourselves. If only we could stop trying to be perfect or keep finding things that we think would make us fulfilled. Instead of reaching outside of ourselves and grabbing at thing that always seems beyond our reach, we can accept who we are and how we live. I guess that is why we wonder "...if waves get discouraged crawling up the sand only to be pulled back again to where they began..."