A guest post by our own lovely Lisa, who is fresh back hOMe after two months in India.
F*** you, yoga.
I startled myself when I thought that this morning. Sure, like anyone that has a six-day-a-week Ashtanga practice, I’ve had low moments, injuries and days that are just downright hard. This morning felt different. It felt like the end.
It’s only been within the past few months that my back really started to bother me. And usually I have no problem gently reminding myself that my body is just getting stronger or shifting, undoing years of running and dancing.
But backbends felt like a punishment today. The “smoosh” of the forward bend counterpose afterwards only gave me permission to let tears fall onto my shins.
I almost wanted to walk away then. Well, I wanted to roll up my mat after Janusirsasana A but stayed, as a stubborn Irish Ashtangi would.
It was in headstand closing my practice that I thought, “fuck this shit, it hurts me. I put forth all this effort and it hurts me. I’m done. It’s like an abusive relationship.”
I lingered longer, breathed deeper and thought about what all this yoga means.
Yoga: to unite – to join – to bind.
All of a sudden I’m thinking of marriage in relationship to the practice. Yoga is a marriage. Really, it’s a life long relationship to the most important person you’ll ever spend time with. You. It’s a practice that reaches far, far beyond any Manduka mat.
Plenty of dedicated yoga practitioners joke that they’re married to yoga. And it’s true. Yoga is a relationship. We dedicate time to do it. We change our bad habits and even shift our lifestyles for it. We want to be better people because of it. We show up again and again, even if it’s a struggle. We’re present for it.
Still in headstand, I realized that I wouldn’t be quitting on yoga. I’d be quitting on myself. And I’ve been around enough to know that I’m the last person I want to quit on.
So I finished my practice.
I’ll chalk it up to a bad day or blame it on the moon. We are human. We all feel pain. We all experience loss and hardship. But in those hard, uncomfortable moments in life, we have yoga to call on any time. Just like your husband or best friend.
This practice teaches us to be our own best friend and I don’t know about you, but I’m done being an enemy to myself.
So, like a good partner, I apologized. Yoga, I’m sorry I told you to eff off.
Lisa co-leads Big Sky Yoga Retreats with Margaret and has just returned from two months of studying yoga in India. She is also the program coordinator for Cowgirls vs. Cancer. She was recently selected as a KiraGrace Warrior for her exemplary commitment to the teaching of yoga, community involvement, and dedication to building a more caring and compassionate world. Lisa has also been featured in Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and her humor and playful teaching style resonate with all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. My personal fave class with Lisa is the BYOW (bring your own wine) before bed restorative yoga Friday nights on retreat.