Friday, August 31, 2012


I started going to a yoga class at my gym maybe 18 months ago. It helped ease the aches of the first couple trimesters of my pregnancy but I had to give it up when I was 6 months along with Birdie. Since she was born in April, I've only been back to a couple of classes. I just can't seem to pull all four of us together in time to get to class.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from taking those classes is that it wasn't just an exercise class or a way to burn calories.
It was a PRACTICE.
As our instructor would remind us at the beginning of class: it was our own yoga journey. We were not to compare what we could do to how others were able to handle the poses. Most of the class I was more comfortable keeping my eyes closed so that was easy to avoid. Our very first exercise of each class our instructor would have us sit and notice our breath. Don't try to change anything yet, she would say. Notice how your body feels today.
Don't judge how you feel, just notice it.
In talking with my therapist this summer, we applied that same practice to my anxiety and post partum depression. As I went through the day I was to take note of my feelings but not judge them. Notice and then let them go. That one practice has made such a difference in my recovery.
As I progressed in my yoga classes, I began to notice that poses that were difficult in the first month were so much easier weeks later. And simply because I practiced them. Without telling myself I "should" be able to do one thing or another.
Before I was pregnant with Birdie, I was training to run a 7 mile race. And when I started I couldn't even run one whole minute straight. Still I expected my body to be able to run 7 miles like it was something I did every day. How unfair of me!
I also seem to expect myself to stick to a clean, 1800 calorie (or 39 points plus the days I'm following WW) diet when currently that's not what my body is used to. I expect myself to complete P90X or a similar exercise program with ease, fitting in 60+ minutes each day. Reality is I don't even walk 15 minutes a day or do my post natal rescue DVD consistently.
When I look at it objectively it doesn't make any sense to beat myself up about these things that are not currently realistic expectations.
But just because they aren't realistic today doesn't mean that they can't be one day.
And so. I practice.
With every decision, every choice. I either strengthen my resolve to eat well or I weaken it. I either strengthen my body with exercise, no matter how simple, or I don't.
I have played piano for a really long time. I was teeny tiny when I started, but the past few years I haven't been as diligent in my practice. I have started using a book of drills and exercises to strengthen my fingers. I don't play them all perfectly the first time.
When I mess up, I don't throw the book on the floor and stomp off to eat a chocolate chip cookie.
No--I practice. I break it down into small pieces. Even at the end of a practice session I don't always have it perfectly.
And that's okay.
Because I know that the time I spent practicing will pay off the next time I sit down to play. I will be better (not perfect) because I practiced.
So. I practice. In every aspect of my life. I learn to apply the grace that I give myself in yoga and music to my eating and exercising.


Post a Comment