This morning, in my weekly 75-minute sweat-fest, I started thinking about all the ways that yoga has changed my life. And it made me cry. You'd think this is an abnormal thing, to cry in the middle of a crazy-hard workout, but yogis do it often. We're weepy, sentimental warriors, the lot of us. Even the dudes.
So, since it's November (what?!) and it's time to get grateful, here are all the things yoga has taught me over the years. And why you should 'practice', too. (Photos by Mimsydotes, obviously.)
1. I'm a badass
When I first started practicing yoga in earnest, I was pregnant. But yoga was never harder for me than after Aaron's birth, after seven months of strict no-exercise restrictions followed by an emergency C-Section. My 'core-lock' was more like Jell-O pudding, and I simply could not engage my abdominal muscles in the same way anymore. But now, I can rock boat pose like nobody's biz, because I worked really, really hard at it. I used to be terribly inflexible, and now I'm a toe-touching, king pigeon-ing, Dancing Shiva. Aka, badass.
2. Attitude is everything
Yoga is all about the mental/physical balance, which I really didn't understand for a long time. But you know how there are people who choose to be happy, so therefore they are happy? And there are people who choose to be miserable, so they are? It's like that. If I go into yoga class and say, 'today I'm going to be Poopy McPooperpants and grunt my way through every posture while staring at the clock', then it's guaranteed to be a long workout. But if I go in and say, 'I'm a goddess and there's never been a more goddessy-goddess than me,' then that's pretty much how it goes. And also, in life.
3. If I don't practice at least once a week, I'm a terrible person
After practicing so long, I don't understand how every woman in her thirties doesn't take yoga. Everything hurts if I don't go to yoga-- from my fingers to my knees to my back to my shoulders-- EVERYTHING. When I hurt, I am grumpy. When I'm grumpy, I'm mean. And now that I'm a mom, when I'm grumpy and mean then my kids are learning to be grumpy and mean, too. So yeah, yoga.
4. Yoga is a way to give thanks
This morning, while holding dolphin pose for an ungodly amount of time, I went to a dark place in my head. It was the night of June 21, 2012, the night Aaron was born. I don't know why I thought of it, but I remembered that I'd called my mom from the ambulance. 'I love you,' I said to her. 'Pray for me.' Because I really thought I was saying goodbye.
See why the tears?
But it occurred to me that by practicing yoga I have been giving thanks for that evening, that all turned out well. I'm healthy, Aaron is healthy, we're all so flippin' lucky to be on this planet at this moment, and life is so unbelievably beautiful. Even when it's really hard. But then again, isn't it the hard that makes us appreciate the beauty? I went on and on in my head about this, my good fortune and all the blessings I have, that I didn't even notice that the teacher had said we could release the pose. I've never gotten that from kickboxing, people.
So there you have it. A woman in her thirties is a certified yoga hippie. Namaste, people. And all that stuff.