Most of my yoga practice is all in my head lately.
It starts off like this:
I roll out my mat in my meditation room and feel the hips in a lunge, maybe a pigeon first off.
My back has an argument with me.
My left sacrum argues with me.
My right rotator cuff argues with me.
But really most of the arguing is in my head.
Ugh. That pain. When is it ever going to go away?
Really? Is that piriformis ever going to let go? I’m just not applying a consistent enough practice.
My wrists are starting to hurt. Oh boy, I bet I’m getting arthritis. How much longer can I keep doing this in my life?
Remember when I used to do 108 sun salutes almost every day? I need to get back to….
Get back to?
I know better than that. There is no getting back to. There is only the now, this now.
The quiet mind is elusive. The noisy judgmental mind is a screaming fanatic running around with a bullhorn between my ears.
So then I have to give in and sit in child’s pose or find a sitting meditation and confront the noise.
I have a “Come to Being” moment.
Am I disappointed? Am I angry? Am I sad? What’s the underlying thought or feeling that’s creating this traffic jam of noise in my head? Is that thought or feeling true?
Lately it’s been the busy mind of teaching a ton, some personal life turmoil and some physical body changes. It’s a good mix of stress and unpredictability that makes sloppy practice soup.
I stare into these bits of truth and breathe and acknowledge. Yes, I’m busy and tired. Yes, I’m sad and a little lonely. Yes, my joints are little more achey at 49 than they were at 40.
These are true.
No, you’re not failing. No, you are not doomed to be alone for the rest of your life. No, your body isn’t broken and decrepit.
Those were not true.
And it’s OK to feel all of these feelings.
A few breaths and quiet moments with that truth.
Then I roll out my mat once more. I move through some sun salutations. I feel my relationship with balance in that moment. I feel my relationship with strength. I check in with my relationship with discipline. And that looks like a falling down, wobbly weak 2-year-old in a tantrum some days. And other days it looks like a wise but stiff elder who needs a cane or a blanket and a nap.
They are all me in that moment. The toddler and the codger. Loving at that moment is the practice. It is the yoga. Loving the entirety of that moment with truthfulness, zeal and non-violence.
I leave my mat space with the entire interaction freshly infused in my cell structure. I’m more keen to recognize the internal war of words. I’m a little more alert to moving each limb deliberately and with care throughout my day.
And I’m way more willing to laugh at that voice in my head and my foibles throughout the day than not.