Last night I went to my usual Bikram yoga class. Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve been to class; a longer break than usual for me. I like to go three times a week, but lately I’ve been lucky to squeeze in one class. There’s running back and forth to school, baseball practice, preparing (and cleaning up from) three meals a day, diabetes stuff, my ongoing and ever-present-in-my-mind job search, writing, well….you get it.
It was a tough class; I was sore, and weak, and inflexible. It may have been the relatively long lapse in my practice, or residual tightness from the long hike I went on last weekend. It could’ve been tenderness from the AcroYoga I practiced a few days ago. Dehydration? Too much sugar? Or maybe just the full moon, who knows.
Whatever the reason, my body was under-performing and my mind began to fill with anxiety and anger. I had to make a deliberate effort to stop that negative self-talk in its tracks, before I sabotaged my entire 90-minute class. By the time we got to dhanurasana (bow pose), I was wiped out. This pose is the culmination of the standing and floor spine strengthening series’ in Bikram yoga. It usually feels pretty sweet.
“Take a deep breath, and gently both legs kick up towards the ceiling (ow). Look up and kick up (ow ow). Head up more, wrists straight more (Ow!).”
“Kick back more. Kick harder” (OW OW OW…there may have been some tears at this point)
There’s no point in being angry at myself or my body. Yoga is accepting your body just how it Is, right at that moment. Accepting that it’s tight, or sore, or weaker than expected and doing the best with what you have right then.
Acceptance doesn’t mean acquiescence. It doesn’t mean giving up and becoming stagnant. I always use those feelings to make choices and adjustments for the future. Rough yoga classes motivate me to get to class more often, to drink more water, to get more sleep, to cut back on sugar, to do things that better my body so that hopefully I can bring strength, energy, and flexibility to my next class.
But in the moment, faced with tightness, and weakness, and a body that isn’t cooperating in the way that I want it to, I have to just Accept and do my best.
Acceptance helps me deal with other challenges in my life. Not enough time, not enough in the bank account, not enough emotional energy, not enough pancreas function….whatever. It Is What It Is. How can I live best with my current situation? What do I need to do to improve my situation for the future?
It’s a point-of-view I hope to pass on to my kids. Everybody has challenges. Diabetes is one of the challenges that our family faces right now. For Evie and Luke, that will be a permanent part of their lives. My role is to teach them to accept their bodies as they are, but to aim for the best health they can achieve.
Just like wishing I was stronger wasn’t going to help me get through that yoga class last night, It will do them absolutely no good to waste time and energy wishing that they had a different body. I want all of my children to accept and value the bodies that they have, marvel at what their bodies can do for them, and be ever mindful of protecting and nourishing those precious bodies. To do the best with what they have.