Where Is Our Yoga?

Today at the end of my yoga practice, as I laid on my back with my sacrum rooted into the earth and my legs resting up the wall, I finally found myself in a state of ease. I quickly came to realize that it took me an hour to get there.

I had walked out of the doors of home-bound day job into an onslaught of arresting life things. Someone honked at a pedestrian on the street, a collision of screaming brakes and profanity. Followed by my newly fixed car screeching in pain as I pulled away from the curb, an unsettling burning smell emanating from underneath its chassis. I felt increasingly rushed as I tried to decipher if I could fix the situation with enough time to make it to my yoga mat. I arrived at the doors of the yoga studio frustrated, jaw clenched, and totally wound up; exactly the opposite of how I intended to show up. 

As I made my way into my first child's pose, I tried to plant a mantra in my mind, but all I could think about was the evening ahead; when and where I would get my car looked at, my aching wallet, and the stress incurred getting to my mat after weeks away. Man oh man, where was my yoga?

I eventually found it, quietly waiting to greet me after the anger in my body dissipated. I realized as I finally relaxed onto my mat that it's truly an honor to have this practice, to create a space to come home to, to lay yourself bare and vulnerable. I realized that my yoga practice needs me as much as I need it. 

I usually show up on my mat after days, weeks, and sometimes months of being away and expect the practice to deeply nourish and instantaneously serve me. I ask it to do all the work, while I neglect it and pretend that I am a practicing yoga teacher. In all honesty, I've fallen off my yoga wagon and have been fighting tooth and nail to cycle through any excuse to avoid my mat. There is work there, I know from years of a steady practice that sometimes my mat is confronting, but that work is begging for me to engage with it. I've been afraid, and that fear has been inhibiting my self-care, denying my inner wisdom, and actively interfering with my truth. 

My yoga and I, we need to be in a mutual relationship. One in which we both serve to strengthen, create balance, cultivate ease, and calm our inner being enough to get quiet and truly be open to listening. I have been cheating on my practice with my busy life; with my procrastination; with my preoccupation; with my insistence that "this" needs to be done "right now". My practice had been missing me, my body was aching for that connection. I strutted into class tonight and demanded that my yoga should cure my mood, my anger, my frustration, all in 60 short minutes. 

Where is our yoga? 

It's in our cars, our relationships, our noisy neighbors, our teachers, our minds, our faults, our joys, our conversations, our failures, our lessons, our fears, our work, our feelings, our homes, our world, and in so many places beyond our mats. I truly believe that yoga will take care of us, but only if we are willing to participate in our relationship with it. 

As I sit here humbled, brought to my keyboard with words of anguish and an unsteady recommitment to my own self-care, I want to remember that my yoga is in each and every breath. It's now. And now. And now. Yoga will only participate in our lives if we engage with it. If we recommit to the work that happens when we step onto our mats we can cultivate and create our best selves. The world, with all of its anger, confusion, frustration, and disappointments needs us to be living and breathing our yoga to help create connection, compassion, inclusion, empathy, kindness, and love. 

Try, just try, to stay humble and curious when you sit, stand and play on your mat. Come to it with a generous and humble spirit and I promise you it will reveal a way to that nurturing lifeline. Trust in that, dearest ones. I will do my best right alongside you. 

-Jenny Lynn Wood