Here I Am

August 1, 2011

Thanks to one of my clients, I’ve been practicing yoga intermittently over the past year and have learned more than I’d expected. I’m still quite inflexible, particularly in my hips and hamstrings, which isn’t surprising since I don’t stretch much at all before or after my daily runs. It’s the mental aspect of yoga — the practice of finding a peaceful, breathable spot during a challenging pose and quieting my critical inner voice — that’s been the most important lesson. Learning, and practicing, to take that mindset “off the mat” into the rest of life has been a positive experience.

I wonder why the natural (really, the learned or most practiced) response when seeing another person do something – a hands-flat-on-the-floor forward bend, for example – is to compare myself and find myself lacking. “I can’t do that,” my inner voice says. “I should work harder, focus, practice more.” The not-so-subtle message is I should be different than I am. And lest anyone begin to worry, these self-critical thoughts are really quite fleeting. They arrive, and I sweep them aside pretty readily. I realize that it’s not just me who thinks this way. It’s a common occurence among my friends and probably lots of other people.

Of course, it’s not only in yoga that these thoughts pop to the forefront of my mind. The self-inflicted “shoulds” can arrive whatever hat I’m wearing — mother, consultant, friend, daughter, wife, blogger. Recently I’ve been thinking, “I haven’t blogged in ages. I really should write a post today — or tomorrow.” As though someone’s keeping score.

The words of a marvelous yoga teacher, talking the class through a pose, recently really resonated with me. “If the full pose isn’t available to you yet, go where you can and be there. And be compassionate to youself.”

What a wonderful way to frame the challenge! Instead of “if you can’t do the full pose,” which implies a level of blame (of sorts), she implied that someday the full post would be available (how hopeful!) and that the important thing was to go where you could and be peaceful there. No blame. No fault-finding. Just be where you are, who you are.

I am here.

And in knitting news, I finished one of Kevin’s socks, which he declared “just perfect.” Since he is blessed with two feet, I’m working on Sock the Second. Just turned the heel on recent flight.

Turned heel of knit sock


One Response to “Here I Am”

  1. Anna Gretta Says:

    Good morning !
    You always hit my sweet spot Mary Ann. We live parallel lives, also very inflexible and TRYING yoga. I must be more compassionate to myself, thanks for the nudge and the hope.
    Namaste (hugs)


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