When I first started doing Yoga, I probably had the same misconceptions as most people have when it comes to Yoga… I thought the power of the practice would immediately have some transformational impact on my body and spirit. I mean, I knew it was hard and I wouldn’t master it overnight and blah, blah…but I did think that after more than a year of practicing I’d at least be able to master Shavasana. Corpse Pose.
Ya know, the one where you just lay there…like a dead person.
You lie there, and you breathe and you try to clear your head, or at least control your thoughts. You can think, obviously, but you’re supposed to relax. Ya know, that thing you’re desperate to do all day between work assignments, kid pickups and drop-offs, meetings, and sports? That thing no one ever gives you the chance to do? In Yoga, they are literally asking you to do it. They are giving you 5 -10 minutes where the one thing you’re supposed to do is relax… breathe…not worry…guide your thoughts away from your life and toward your breathing and your body and your heart.
Relax? What’s That?
But ya know what I can never do once the opportunity is presented to me? Relax. Focus on my breathing, slow my heart. Know what I can do? Think about food. And dinner. And how ridiculously hungry I am. And if the kiddo is eating healthy enough and if we’ll get dessert, and how I should start meal planning more or if I should get a smoothie from the club’s bar or just wait until dinner…wait, what was for dinner again? Do I have everything I need? Do I have a backup, just in case? I was planning chicken but man, pasta sounds good right now…phew, that’s a lot of food thoughts.
But it’s not just food that throws me off.
My heartbeat is never doing what it should be doing, my breathing is suddenly really weird and hard to control, my nose itches and I really have to sneeze. And did I mention I’m hungry?
After all my unrealistic dreams about a Yoga-tastic personality makeover, I never thought the part where I get to sit and chill would be the hardest. Because I’ve always been a pretty chill person. Not much throws me. I’ve always been able to chill with a book for hours, or have a movie marathon in bed and binge like a champ. I look forward to bed. I’ve never really had insomnia. So, even if Yoga itself was harder than I thought it would be, the relaxing part shouldn’t be.
But when it comes to Yoga, what I’ve learned is that there is no “should” or “shouldn’t.” Sometimes, the hardest part about yoga isn’t the poses.
Sometimes, You’re Just Wrong
Yoga is about connecting with yourself, setting aside all the negative bullshit we tell ourselves all day, and just being. And ya know what? That’s f-ing hard. We’ve become trained to go. To move. To start the next thing as soon as we’re done with our current thing. So, to finish a yoga class and then sit in complete silence and allow yourself a few moments to soak in the work you’ve just done for yourself, well, it’s not something we’re quick to let ourselves to do.
Yoga helps you find the areas of yourself you need to work on. I’ve always thought I was a pretty chill and relaxed person. I didn’t think I felt the pressure to constantly be moving from one thing to another. But, if my Shavasana habits tell me anything, it’s that I was wrong about myself. And that’s a hard thing to admit. Admitting you’re wrong about anything is hard, admitting you’re wrong about yourself and who you are as a person? Even harder.
But that’s what yoga is supposed to teach you; that you’re not always right. Remember that transformational impact I was hoping for? I guess it’s happening. By thinking about food, I’m learning about myself. By being ok with getting something wrong, I’m letting myself get it right.
Someday, I’ll do Shavasana the “right way.” Maybe a snack before practice would help…like some fruit or granola or…sorry, I just really love food. Someday, I’ll get it right, but yoga isn’t about being right, it’s about letting yourself be wrong…and think about food in Shavasana.