I guess part of doing yoga every damn day is realizing that every day is not going to bring some amazing breakthrough. As part of the Digital 40 Days, I’ve read that a big part of this challenge is just being, and that not only is that enough, it’s actually integral, necessary, unavoidable, and . . . good?
I had my weekly standing yoga date yesterday: Late-night sweaty yoga. It’s normally a highlight of my week. It’s a time to reconnect with a friend who is cripplingly busy, it’s one of very few hours I mentally categorize as a “sure thing,” (meaning I can count on it being fun, valuable, and not falling through) and it’s reliably challenging and peaceful.
But last night I felt like I was eating a PBJ for the 60th day in a row. (I’m perfectly qualified to make that analogy having subsisted off of PBJ from ages 7-12, 18-25, and during all three years that I’ve been 28.) Obviously I like PBJ; I choose it over almost any other thing (with the exception, of course, of blue box macaroni and cheese, though that has the all–too-rigorous requirement of non-sour milk). Liking something though, doesn’t mean you can’t get tired of it. As I dragged myself in to the studio I was already counting the minutes before they’d even started ticking. It was hotter than usual, and that was making me feel sluggish and cranky. It was more crowded than usual and having all those mightily struggling, if errantly teetering, yogis in my eye line was mucking up my drishti. I couldn’t stop justifying my weakness and lack of focus by teetotalling the hours I’d already spent yesterday in triathlon training.
It looks like nothing is happening, but you are powerfully working to the core.
During a particularly annoying pose (on one foot, isometrically isolating my something or other — whatever that means), the instructor said something that made me think “It looks like nothing is happening, but you are powerfully working to the core.” And, as so often happens, there was a tiny shift in thinking there that changed everything. Just because I’m not transcending consciousness while watching a sweat bead roll off my nose as I’m settling into side crow with equanimity (which would be a Rocky-on-the-stairs moment for me), doesn’t mean I’m not working, progressing, and transforming. I sometimes feel short-changed when I think about all the time I’m putting in to both this yoga training and triathlon training. My jeans haven’t fallen off yet, my arms don’t have that cut-in that create a fierce-looking shoulder cap, and I still can’t transcend consciousness while watching a sweat bead roll of my nose while I’m settling in to side crow with equanimity. Where’s the payoff, already?
But I am sticking with it — showing up every day — and even though it looks like nothing is happening, I’m powerfully working. To the core. To recognize this experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves—the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of tides, the beating of hearts, the ticking clock, the grind of practicing every day –maybe I’ll revise my post-practice chant (at least while practicing at home). When it comes time to chant, I’ll tap into the real universal movement that is both uplifting and soothing, the knowledge that not every day is transcendent, not every practice is a showstopper, and it’s not only ok but necessary to look sometimes on the outside like you’re doing nothing when in reality your working your inner butt off. Here we go: