I love intensity. Wanna challenge me in push ups, go all day without eating, or hike all four passes of the maroon bells four pass loop in one day? It’s on. But sometimes my body says NO. Sometimes enough is enough and I need to let go of my expectations and commit to wellness through yoga.
I didn’t used to read the signs very well. In fact, when Gabi was a baby, I got mastitis 5 times in one year! If you haven’t had mastitis before (sorry guys if ya can’t relate) it feels like having the worst flu, while your boob turns red and engorges with so much milk you think it’s going to burst.. ya, ouch! I’m glad I am done with that chapter of my life. I got it a few times when Isabelle was a baby but by the time Jiraiya and Tati were born I had learned to read the signs and when I felt it coming on, I quickly slowed down my life, laid in bed breastfeeding often, and took supplements to boost my immune system.
Well with a personality like mine, that is always pushing the envelope on some front, you can imagine the same thing happens often in my life, but without boob infections now. Luckily, I’m getting better at reading the signs- trouble sleeping or staying asleep, poor digestion, craving excess sweets or alcohol, irritability, brain fog, etc. Eventually it gets bad enough that I know I have to make a change and for me that always comes in two forms, improving my nutrition and going to yoga.
Ya see, I’m a bit of a yoga snob.
I don’t mean to be so difficult it’s just that I love staying busy, even if it’s with mindless tasks like hiking 14ers and spending all day blogging about it, and forcing myself to stop my “busy”-ness and commit to my mat for over an hour is hard. So if I don’t know who the teacher is, which seems to be all the time when we are traveling, I’m reluctant to go.
- What if they don’t teach the class the way I want?
- What if the sequencing isn’t good?
- What if they do too many chatturangas? (I don’t need anymore shoulder work, ya know?!)
It’s funny how we have these expectations for others and how the world should act!
I catch myself holding onto these insane expectations all the time and at least I can laugh at myself and make the intention to let go of them.
Long, long story short, I finally went to yoga last week. Yep, it took me 2 months of being in Summit County to finally set aside 2 hours of my day to step on my mat.
I didn’t really like the class either. It was a room full of people at least two decades my senior. The instructor held the positions for way too long. She didn’t cue properly. And there were not nearly enough twists or shoulder openers (did she not notice my poor posture when I walked in?!).
The worst part, it was exactly what I needed.
F*%#. All those expectations and judgements I had that were holding me back and keeping me stuck in a cycle of stress, exhaustion, and not optimal health went straight out the window as I floated through the rest of my day.
That night, I friggin slept amazing. I woke with a clearer mind. I felt like the reset button had been pushed and I was ready to charge again.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m going to go do that boring class everyday. It’s just that today, I wanted to offer up a reminder to you overzealous overachievers out there. It’s hard to stop and do what is needed to nurture our bodies. It’s so much easier to push through the pain, see what we can endure, and prove that we’ve got what it takes. And yes, those are important. BUT…if you forget to take care of your body, one day it might fight back and stop working for you the way you expect it to.
That day, last Saturday, when I finally succumbed to the boredom of a slow yoga class, I wasn’t alone. My two oldest, Daniel and Gabi were on either side of me because years ago I laid that foundation in them of the importance of self care and intuitive training. In fact, Danny gets up early a few times a week to go to Yoga, even though it’s not his favorite thing to do.
Yoga is kinda like eating broccoli.
Given the option, we’d all probably reach for the chocolate cake, but when you eat both cake and broccoli enough, you start to notice that one makes your stomach hurt and one leaves you feeling good (& a flatter stomach to boot!).
So my long winded wellness tip today is to make the time to step on your mat, even if it’s boring and the teacher doesn’t sequence to your liking.
Something is better than nothing and often what we need isn’t what we want to do, but makes us better in the end and helps us live better lives.
And If you can’t make time for yoga at a studio, practice yoga on your own. Find a quiet place where you can zen out (completely) and stream our yoga class videos on YouTube.