The other day, one of my private students was a little late for her session. It was pouring rain but I still found myself concerned. When she arrived, she looked frazzled and as we prepared the start of our session, she began to recount for me the day she’d had.
It involved being up before 5, a long drive and then a very busy, stressful day. It ended with her drive to me in a downpour and her arrival, looking defeated and exhausted, standing in my doorway with a dripping umbrella.
We started slow and our focus was on breathing and just the essentials: breath, gaze, foundation. She was intently focused, despite the challenges of her day and it so impressed me that she was able to make a connection, despite the events of her day. The fact that she could move her body after being in a car as long as she was seemed quite amazing.
It made me think of the miracle that is coming to our mat on a regular basis. It may not be every day and sometimes, it may not be once a week. But regardless of the frequency of our practice, there’s an aspect of “miraculous-ness “ whenever we step on the mat. Even for the most seasoned practitioner, we need to overcome obstacles to begin our practice. Schedules, stress, childcare, injuries, resistance, doubt, fear… you name it and we can use it as a block. And in many cases, there is tremendous validity to the barrier we face… our back hurts; how will we do the poses? No one can watch our child; how can we make it to the studio? There are real obstacles that are in our path. But with creative thinking, use of non-traditional resources (online yoga, anyone?) we can find a way to do something. I always like to encourage people to acknowledge that any amount of time that we devote to yoga is valuable. That’s why my instructional DVD has a 10-minute practice on it; sometimes, that’s all the time you have. But it’s better to do ten minutes versus nothing.
Sometimes, all we can do is take a breathing break. And that’s ok too. Sometimes, all we can do is close our eyes and acknowledge that we’re beat. Sometimes, all we can do is take child’s pose and try to restore our aching body and heart. These are all expressions of health and wellness. We just need to open our minds to look beyond the traditional expression of yoga and realize that it’s less about what we do, and more about doing “something.”
Be good to yourself.