Today was my first day back on the mat– for real this time– since September. I don’t count those scattered days in between when I “promised” myself that I was back into it, but then lost momentum. This time, it IS for real, though, and thus I memorialize it with a blog post.
I was fortunate be to awarded a Yogis Heart scholarship, which covers a years worth of yoga, and I’m using it to fund my mysore practice at Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side. I am beyond thrilled for this opportunity to study under a real teacher, in a real mysore room, without having to make the monthly calculation– can I afford it this month? Usually the answer has been no.
I’m actually also looking forward to the accountability. Something has gotta give in my life right now, and this scholarship and my new spring-time attitude is going to give it to the lazy, whiny, depressed me who prefers hunkering on the couch eating pizza (which is pretty much exactly what I did all winter).
This has been an epic year for me, in fabulous and catastrophic ways– in the fall, I struggled through monumental depression, ended up getting whooping cough/pneumonia/something they couldn’t diagnose, broke a rib from coughing, and spent the next six weeks barely able to move. In January, I got married. In the next six weeks, I’ll be moving to Alaska for the summer.
I stepped onto my mat today and instantly felt myself caught up in the joy of practice, surrounded by other Ashtangis. By the third sun salutation B, I was panting ready to be done. It’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Mortified that my arms were shaking without even having finished my “warm up,” I grit my teeth and tried to focus on my breathing, sneaking extra breaths here and there. By the time I got to Parivritta Parshvakonasana, I had to admit that my rib wasn’t up for rotating, that my tummy has acquired several inches of fluff since I last did this, and I needed to slow it down. So, I stuck to the standing postures and tried to breathe patience into a mind that wanted to curl up and crawl away in shame.
It’s ridiculous that I would be so embarrassed I’m completely out of shape that my instinct is to not get in shape, or (as I’ve been doing for the past few months) telling myself that I’ll get in shape at home, by myself, and then magically waltz into the shala able to do everything. Um, unlikely.
So, for everyone who is out there wishing they were fitter and stronger; who clandestinely watches the people around them to see what everyone else can do; for everyone who is afraid of getting off their couch, like me — tomorrow’s practice is for you.