I recently read an interesting article about yoga’s potential benefit to the stress response of the brain. I use the word “potential” because not everyone who is doing yoga is actively practicing being calm and mindfully present at the onset of the discomfort that yoga will often induce. Despite my own efforts, I am not always about to achieve this – but I try.
This morning’s mysore practice, for example, was difficult long before I arrived at the studio. Honestly, had I not messaged my instructor beforehand, I might have returned to the warmth of my bed. Since I had already committed however, I had to show up.
And show up, I did. The room was already packed, with 20+ ashtangies already into their practice, when I arrived. I rolled out my mat, took my place at the front of it, and began. My body S-C-R-E-A-M-E-D with DISCOMFORT right from the first forward fold. Ugh!
In the past, I would have listened to that voice telling me to GET. OUT. OF. THERE. – but not today. Physically, I showed up; I couldn’t back out now.
I did my best to stay with my breath but found, all too often, that my practice was wildly out of sync with my breath. I tried to connect and, when I did, it got easier. Not easy, but easier than initially.
It’s a process and everyday I come to my mat is different. As long as I don’t expect to be where I was the day before, it’s okay. Good even. But if I show up expecting it to be better than the day before, I risk being disappointed. I am finding that it’s better to just show up… and let what happens, happen.
I am finding that this approach is a good one for life as well.
On Sunday, I drove to the local track for my first attempt at doing some speed work. Rather than just showing up and letting it be whatever, I found myself not living up to expectations I had no business having. My attachment to doing a workout that would have been easy two years ago, had be pushing to make it happen. My body was NOT happy…until I let go of my attachment.
I found a spot in the shade to wait for YaYa to finish his workout of running bleachers and various other calisthenics. There in the shade, everything was good. After all, I’d just done a 5 mile trail run the day before.