Do you sometimes forget the things you know you know?
At the end of Flow class one day my teacher pointed out to me that in Savasana I was scrunching my up forehead. “Really?!” I looked at him, perplexed, “I had no idea”. Whatever was on my mind was etched across my forehead. “Why don’t you have a think about that?” he said. I sat on my mat, still a bit bemused as my teacher got up and left the room.
But think about it I did.
My brain has felt so full recently. I’ve been physically and mentally racing around non-stop, re-organising my life and making some big decisions about what I really want. Amidst all this trying to do and control everything I found myself feeling tired all the time. Not eating properly. Feeling less like myself. Being even quieter than normal. My smile fading… The only time I ‘stopped’ and left all that behind was during my yoga practice. Or so I thought.
I’ve been here before.
In times of stress and big change this has been my default. Taking proper care of myself is the first thing to go then after that it’s a slippery slope. Yet, yoga is mostly off the mat really, and being kind to myself is a part of that. How could I not have noticed?
I’ve been holding on so tightly to ‘stuff’. To stuff that has happened. To stuff that hasn’t happened yet – that I’m afraid might happen or that I want to happen that might not happen… A zillion ‘what if’s?’ have raced around my head as I’ve tried to plan for worst case scenarios and every possible eventuality my mind has woken me up in the middle of the night with. My Girl Scout head likes routine and structure and being prepared at all times. Being in control.
Even in my practice I noticed more tightness and discomfort in my lower body than usual, my pesky piriformis being joined by new guests – unhappy hamstrings and sensitive knees. At other times I’ve been feeling fine during a class one minute then literally felt my energy evaporate the next. Consequently, I’ve sensed a growing frustration at feeling limited in my postures, and because I hate the idea of being a quitter I’ve struggled to power through (despite my body wanting me to slow down before I fall down). Because anything less would be giving up. Right? I know better so why have I been doing this?
After some thought I worked out what the problem was:
I got caught up in the ‘stuff’.
Mostly, my mind rushing ahead and worrying about all those ‘what if’s?’ rather than focusing on the present. But the truth is I can only focus on the ‘now’ and the things I can do in the moment. Worrying about the things I can’t control or what may or may not happen tomorrow, next month, next year… is pointless. That way lies misery. My life is transforming and I’m adapting to the fact that I need to not hold on so tight. That I need to Let Go and be more open.
A funny thing is I noticed that when I made the decision to ‘let go’ I did feel more open, literally and metaphorically. In that particular moment I found I was able to do something I never do in class. I kicked out during the balancing sequence. That’s not to say that I’ve been able to kick out in every class since because I haven’t, but that’s not what the issue is for me here. I wasn’t ‘woo-hooing’ at the fact that I kicked out. It was the observation that something significant seemed to happen in that moment where my mind shifted. It was a great reminder for me of the importance of letting go, and also the importance of what you decide to think.
If it hadn’t been for my teacher pointing out my scrunched up forehead to me I might not have even noticed where I was going. I don’t know if he saw what the problem was when he mentioned it. Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m glad that I got to work it out for myself. Some of the best lessons stick that way, I find. It turns out that quiet word from my teacher was just what I needed at the time and for that, I am truly grateful.