I went to bed feeling creaky and achey and defeated by a seemingly simple transition that continues to elude me. I finished my early morning practice feeling much the same way.
I blamed it on the full moon instead of the more likely culprit - entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream consumed before bedtime the last four nights in a row.
I smiled during practice and backed off edges and took care to be kind to myself. “Be gentle,” my friendly yogi fairy intoned from one shoulder as the teacher asked us to set our intention at the start of class. “You’ve been working on this jump back for years, why can’t you do it yet?” the other, less friendly yogi scolded from its perch on my other shoulder, tethered firmly by self-pity and judgment.
The conversations we have in our head.
Me: Practice non-attachment.
Other me: For the love of all things holy, why can I still not do this?
Me: Enjoy the journey.
Other me: My body aches. I have rug burns on my feet. I can’t pull my knees to my chest one more time. What the bleeping bleep is wrong with me?!
After class, I worked on some Instagram challenge poses and everything persisted to feel off. My body never quite opened and my mind continued its angry chatter. So, I decided to settle into some poses that make me feel light, joyful, open. This one lifted my mood immediately.
It was only several hours later that I recognized the irony of choosing this pose to tap into joy, of using the particular words I did to describe it. A year ago I could not lift my hands from the floor in hanumanasana and I’d only just started experimenting with backbends. I could not breathe fully or comfortably in either. They were not light, joyful or open. They were dreadful. And now.
“When we begin our lives we believe that there is a destination that we have to get to,” Yulady Saluti wrote today on Instagram. “In reality, life is simply made up of the journey, without any particular destination ever reached. Sometimes the journey into the pose becomes the pose.”
And so often, probably always, the journey is more difficult than the pose itself.