I cannot even fathom how many times I have asked myself “why”. Why did I do that? Why didn’t you leave earlier? Why did you put your keys in the recycle bag? All good questions at the time but there is one “why” that I asked myself nearly 10 years ago that led to a path that I am so happy I found.
That question was “why didn’t I start this earlier?” I asked myself that after attending my 3rd yoga class.
As a business professional I am often on the road, in meetings, working nights and weekends and many years ago I had to find an outlet for the stress that was building. I have been an athlete most of my life and I turned to physical exercise as it was familiar. It was very helpful and still is, but back then I needed something . . . . more or different.
As I started to look around for things to supplement what I felt as “missing” I thought I would “give that yoga thing a try”; 3 classes later there was that question – “why didn’t I start this earlier?” Now did I float like an angel in those 3 classes? No. It was one of the most awkward struggles I had ever experienced and remember I had been an athlete for years! I was sweaty, I was utilizing muscles and thoughts I never knew I had, I was hoping beyond hope to not split my pants and of course the fear in every new yogi. . . .I just needed to make through class without passing gas!
The best explanation I can offer is that despite all those struggles, awkward moments and yes fear, I was truly inspired; not to do more, or work a perfect posture but just inspired to come back and do it all over again. I found a mental release, physical challenge, emotional comfort and an overall feeling that had been eluding me . . . I felt calm.
Over time the struggling took on a different form, not a struggle to place my foot between my hand without having to grunt, but rather to “just be” in that pose, that moment. In my professional life I found tremendous success by pushing to do more, yoga was a place where I could “just practice” for me and me alone. As my journey continued I became more comfortable in the exploration of my practice and found there was always something more waiting for me to discover.
Now I have to be completely honest, yes I have found myself in a class or on my mat at home pushing or struggling to get into a pose for no other reason that I want to experience it. I have also seen a physical change in my body and I like it. But I have also found a passion that never requires me to be perfect. I am inspired to come to my mat every day and just see what happens. I have moments of personal reflection, inquiry, grace, anger, fear, triumph and calm.
As this spring approached I found myself going back to a number of the fundamentals I learned and started to look for additional ways to fine tune a posture or transition searching to find comfort in each pose. This opened up yet another source of the inspiration that fuels my practice. The questions to myself became those of “why don’t you drop that hip to the floor and see how that feels; or why are you clenching you butt so hard, are you trying to create a diamond?”. But every morning I wake up, move around the house to get out what I call the “Rice Crispies” that are living in my ankles and knees, I then sit for meditation and finally I approach my yoga mat and move my body in whatever way I feel inspired to do so.
In contrast to the daily lives most of us lead, yoga is not an activity in which practice makes perfect, but rather the “practice is the practice and that is perfect”. I believe this is one reason that keeps me coming back to the mat every day. There is always something more to learn or something new to try; perfections is never requested nor expected, but inspiration is continuous. Namaste
About the Author Pamela was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her mother always said she would be a business professional or a comedian; somehow, she makes them both happen. The love of life and true well-being she that endeavors to achieve each day, shows in her teaching. Join Pam for her 2 Week Inspire your practice series at Sound Method for 2 Saturdays this September. Register here.