December 8, 2011

Waxing philosophical. Heads up.

There are a couple of things my cynical-self poked fun at not too long ago...if not out loud, most definitely somewhere in the track of sarcastic inner-monologue which continuously streams through my deep dark semi-consciousness.
                                                       yoga .......

Ironic, huh?

I began this blog to keep in touch with friends and family, albeit reluctantly, when my move overseas became eminent and cemented. I immediately began regretting my (sometimes verbalized) mocking disdain towards personal blogging and and made amends to the handful of blogger-friends who graciously and knowingly said "just wait. You'll get it someday."

I did. 
Turns out most of my cynicism towards blogging disappeared once I got over my own fears and insecurities that come along with revealing honest bits of your world with people. 
(Although, I still feel a little strange when I see stats that 
someone from Latvia or Haiti has viewed my blog.)

Another mocking preconception which this year turned upside down for me, literally, was of yoga.
I remember my first was a struggle not to laugh out loud during the "ohm's" that bookmark each practice.  Pretty quickly I realized that the disdain came from my own self-consciousness and insecurity...and therefore was probably not worth holding on to. I also felt so tired and completely exhausted physically that I couldn't worry about how sweaty and disgusting I looked- I just felt so good it didn't even matter.

That was my first life lesson from yoga...
does it matter what other people think if you're doing something that you know is good for you? 


I was fortunate enough to have such talented teachers at a studio near where I lived and worked that yoga eventually became a part of my routine... now without yoga (at least a little stretching once a day) my whole attitude is thrown off.

I knew I had crossed over and now qualified as a "yogi" when my friend Mary said to me "you're one of those people now who will just do yoga anywhere. At random times. When did that happen?" I think I was doing a headstand in her living room. Hah. I would've scoffed at this version of myself two years ago.

When I left my little studio in Boston and moved to Israel, yoga became integral for maintaining some sense of consistency in my life. It's been a struggle to find anything that compares to Sadhana in Boston- I tried a lot of places around Tel Aviv before school began, but I haven't found anything really affordable or convenient. 

It's been frustrating, but it really has forced me to develop the mental discipline of practicing at home. I've had to dip into my memory bank of poses and try to create challenging and creative workouts for myself. In doing this I'm learning to really pay attention to how my body feels- what is sore? What can I do right now that will make me feel better.

For the last few weeks I've felt pressure from myself to be working harder, sweating more, challenging my strength. But tonight I was so exhausted from my day that I decided to try and recall my friend Dorian's "Restorative" classes that I used to go to on Sunday evenings- holding poses for longer stretches, breathing deeper... and then I had an epiphany. Suddenly I had a totally different perspective. In some ways holding a pose for a longer time (one or two minutes rather than thirty seconds) can be a lot more challenging. It takes more concentration to focus attention, but it provides a chance to figure out where my boundaries are, and carefully push them a little bit. Staying put for a little longer than usual allows me a glimpse into where I'm carrying tension unconsciously. Once you feel that tension you can, with a deep breath, let go of it. 

This is my next huge yoga-meets-life epiphany. 

It is not in my nature, but with yoga, I'm learning what a worthwhile exercise patience can be. 

Thank heavens I brought my mat with me to Israel.


Ellen said...

What a lovely way to describe the transforming experience yoga has had on you!

Emily said...

Ok so is this the time that I add you to the ever-growing list of friends who keep telling me to stop laughing at the concept of yoga and just do it?! Sidenote: I write this on only a few hours of sleep because of my persistent insomnia. I know I know... yoga heals that too!