Yoga does different things for different people. It can turn lethargy into action. It can turn a frazzled overworked person into a tranquil, peaceful being. Yoga brings us into balance. Yoga helps us to re-pattern negative and unhealthy behaviors. Since we are bodies of organic materials and over 60% water, we are in a constant state of flux from birth ’til death. Hence, we are forever re-patterning the ways in which we approach life in all realms- physical, mental, and spiritual.
In my 20’s I lost 80 lbs. It happened after I started yoga. In natural succession I began to eat more consciously and then I started jogging regularly (which was a dreadful, awful, painful feat in my pre-weight loss years). All of a sudden, running was exhilarating and a mighty calorie burner too. Jackpot! Right? The combination of new healthy behaviors (combined with long-term sticking with them) resulted in the significant weight loss and the ‘keeping it off’ factor that is even harder to maintain.
A few years went by and the jogging started to take a toll on my body…achy joints, sore back, tight muscles. As well, the aggressive yoga practices that made me sweat and groan and push and push beyond my limits, and then pass out in savasana, had depleted me and injured me. After a defiant few years of not accepting that I needed to shift my behaviors (again, really?? So not fair!!…I whined and protested).
I knew I had to alter my patterns to accommodate for my changing and now imbalanced state. Fatigued and constantly achey does not a nice tag teacher make. These were hard lessons. Part of my resistance to ‘change’ was purely fear based as I was absolutely not going back to being ‘the fat girl’- THAT was painful enough. But I also didn’t know any other way to keep my weight and compulsive over-eating tendencies at bay. ‘Cardio and hard-core yoga everyday or else!’ worked so well for me for so long. But waking up nearly crippled from it one sad night in 2007 I knew the gig was up. I had to make changes.
In this quandary, I am not alone. All of the time I see people who have made great life changes and had success in becoming more healthy and balanced physically, mentally, and spiritually. But if we do not continue to keep a close eye on the delicate state of balance within and outside of ourselves, and adjust our behaviors and practices accordingly we will become imbalanced again.
I have mellowed out. I still practice yoga everyday, but I listen deeply to my body and abide (most of the time) by the inner teacher. My home practice is mostly pelvic-abdominal strengtheners, inversions, backbends, and any ‘special’ poses I want to explore working on to teach in classes. I sit for meditation six days a week. I LOVE going to a few classes a week at Yoga Birds when it fits into my schedule. I do not consider teaching times as my practice. Practice is a receiving, teaching is a giving. I like to keep those in equal balance. 12 hours of teaching = 12 hours of practice. I owe that to my students. I still jog once in a blue moon. I take long walks with the dogs in Fairhope (that’s my FAVE). I do cardio twice a week on an elliptical or bike at the gym. Some days I have to force myself to kick up my heartbeat. Some days I have to make myself do restorative poses to bring my energy down. It seems that what I am most resistant to on a certain day is the missing link that will bring me more into balance. Most days I sit at a desk for many hours. Movement is vital for me to have any energy to work with.
Because of my beloved longtime practice of yoga and turning inward, I take pauses regularly throughout the day for self-inquiry. I often ask myself ‘Is this bringing me into balance?’ and then I proceed with a little more clarity. These are the gifts yoga. Everyday is different. Everyday our bodies are different. Our behaviors and actions, must honor the constant changing state of nature, otherwise we hurt ourselves.
I look forward to inevitable change and opportunities to really put this practice to use. I am so happy and grateful to be on this path with all of you yogis and friends.
Enjoy this Time. Enjoy this Life. Enjoy this Breath. Enjoy Yoga. Enjoy yourSelf Everyday.
Peace Love and Yoga Y’all.