I have a wishy washy relationship with yoga – on again off again at best. Sometimes yoga doesn’t fulfill me. Sometimes I can’t get enough. Yoga and I sometimes decide to keep it in the friend zone because I just can’t commit to a whole hour. Every Wednesday. At 6 am.
In past years, I have made peace with this. Perhaps I will never be an accomplished, mastered yogi and I’m actually okay with this.
But damn – sometimes I have some really insightful moments on the mat.
A few months ago, I started having really painful lower back aches. I thought it would go away, and it never did. (Isn’t it illogical how our body talks to us and we just snub it thinking, “It’ll go away”?) Last semester was crazy busy for me and I rarely made it to the gym, let alone yoga class. Finally, over Christmas break, I had some down time to spend a little beloved time with my mat again. (Yea, I get it yoga – you want me back for the holidays. That’s fine, but don’t expect a committed relationship out of me once the semester picks back up in January.) My sister gave me some good stretches for my lower back and I implemented them into my yoga practice.
15 minutes here, 20 minutes there. Sometimes it was only 5 minutes. But my back is already starting to feel better. And even though I’ve heard jokingly that yoga is the “biggest pagan wannabe religious sport ever”, I get some much needed intimate time with my higher power on the mat. And I found something else out too – I really don’t like yoga classes all that much.
In yoga classes, there are too many yogi for me. I’m looking around to see how everyone else’s perched pigeon (or whatever, I may have just made that up…) looks. I have to listen to the instructor and go on her beats. Even though they always say, “If you feel like going into child’s pose at any time, feel free. Move on your own breath,” I always feel like the entire room scoffs in disdain when I’m doing my own thing in the corner.
I’d much rather do it alone, just me and, well, yea – God.
I do think fellowship is incredibly important. Humans are meant to be interactive, expressive, and societal. But how can we express love to others if we don’t know it in the quiet, solitary simple moments?
In other words, I do yoga (at least we’re going steady for now) alone so that I can go to mass each week and share the love to others in my community and beyond.
PS: Yoga can be whatever the heck you want it to be. So if anyone tells you it’s a “pagan sport” just smile politely and say, “That’s one opinion.”