Sometimes I write just to make my thoughts transparent. To myself. Obviously. Although I write in this public space (and actually have a few followers…even though I’ve not published anything in ages) I am pretty shy about putting these inner thoughts out there. But….in my whole letting-go-separating-from-ego process of growth, I figure this is part of that process. Not being embarrassed to open my mind and let it spill without worrying about who might read it and judge me.
Now that that is out of the way….there are these things on my mind today: 1. yoga practice. 2. being old as in having a large number of years of life and being perceived that way by other people because I have wrinkles and gray hair and how weird that feels. 3. comparison as the thief of joy and what that means in life and learning.
Going to let it ride….stream of consciousness.
Yoga. Practice. I’ve been getting on my mat six days a week since January 1st of this year except for the 10 days I was in Israel. Today is the last day of July. So that’s 7 months of daily practice. I don’t have a specific practice, but I have been incorporating a lot of ashtanga primary series. Often I go to a class because I like being led. Sometimes (rarely) I choose something less energetic like a restorative or yin class. I’m really committed to the practice. And that makes me so happy. Just getting on my mat. I can’t even tell you the love I have for my yoga mat.
So what am I learning about myself in this time I spend making shapes with my body, breathing, feeling sensation and listening to the voices of my head? Well….the last few practices have been ugly. Like, I’m hurting. I feel stiff. And sore. I have less energy. And that makes me judge myself. But then I remind myself that it is a practice. The practice is not about outcome; it’s about showing up. And I’m showing up! I’m showing up!!!
Today I did a home practice with Sharath Jois leading. I skipped several vinyasas. But I did the whole primary series. Then I took an advil to calm the aching in my thutt (where the thigh meets the butt). My thutt always aches after ashtanga. Sharath says that pain/soreness is how you know you have a body. So, what I was aware of today was my tendency to panic when things get challenging. There are a few poses that are really challenging, and my breath starts to get quick and shallow. I breathe through my mouth and my mind starts to panic. I have to smile and tell myself, “It’s only yoga!”
I have this thing I do where I always think that everyone else is doing it better than me (comparison!) It’s so evil! Part of having a practice is acceptance of being exactly where you are. Another thing Sharath says is not to have #yogagoals. He says that if you set a goal, you will achieve the goal but go no farther. He says just practice. Just. PRACTICE. And you will transform.
Photo Credit: Agathe Padovani ifilmyoga.com Taken in Miami in June
Which brings me to my last thing….being fifty years of age. Suddenly (ha!), everything looks different. I find myself being one of the oldest people in every group or situation (except when I visit with my dad and his friends). It’s odd. First there is the way other people respond or at least how I think they are responding or looking at me. Then there is the way I feel about myself. Like thinking about the importance of practicing and wanting to transform. I start to wonder if there is enough time for me. I’ve already done a lot of living, a lot of growing. I think I’m in an ok place. But I also sense there’s more to go. I want to keep growing. I want to transform. I want to become stronger and more flexible physically. I want to take more energy from the earth and use it in my body and my life. But part of growing older is a physical downsizing of sorts. More later…. Peace