I'm starting to suspect that Adriene Mishler is reading my blog posts.
Not only has she fashioned a whole month of genius yoga videos for her three million strong (and growing) You Tube fan base, but she has also managed to fashion today's video - day twenty nine - perfectly for me.
I mean, let's look at the evidence. The last two days of this self-inflicted yoga challenge have totally thrown me off balance thanks to my monthly hormonal madness. The themes of 'Be Free' and 'Be Fearless' weren't ever going to work when I was dealing with the complex and painful workings of menstruation to the extent that I needed to walk around with a hot water bottle strapped to my groin and a twisted facial expression that was meant as a dire warning to anyone who came near. I managed to get through both practices, but just barely. At the end, as I wrote last night, at least I could credit myself with having been brave enough to show up and do that.
Then what does Adriene go and call today's practice? 'Be Brave'.
And what does she say at the start of the video? That she's amazed by the 'generous amount of bravery and guts it takes to show up and really look inside and see who's there'. She recognises that the practice she's chosen doesn't always align with your mood or energy state and that sometimes it's all you can do to 'just get through it'.
Now, thanks to her lovely, relaxed style, I've felt like Ms Mishler is talking just to me before, but never to this extent. Maybe it's the remaining hormones swishing their way around my body but honestly? How can she know this shit? She even talked about the fact that we are walking contradictions, feeling one thing one minute and another thing the next. And when she invited me to blanket myself in love, well let's just say there were a few tears before the first forward bend.
All month I've been thinking, 'Oh bloody hell, when am I due my period? Is it going to mess up my commitment to this thirty day yoga challenge?' Because I know, good people, what shape and form my period takes these days. Gone are the days of paragliding in tight white hotpants (or something) for now is the age of crippling pain, horrendous headaches, hot flushes and moods that surely must originate from the very pits of Mordor.
Of course, I blame it on the children. My periods were never like this before they popped out. Yet another way they have wrecked my body, my lifestyle, my identity.
But they have faces like this, so you know, every cloud . . .
Anyway, I think, perhaps, having my period come at the very end of this month-long challenge has - dare I say it - been a good thing. If it had appeared earlier, I may not have had the time to build up the spiritual strength to keep on keeping on. I'm fully aware that sounds dramatic but it's only as dramatic as the epic character shift I get at this time of the month. I kid you not.
And as an ironic kind of cherry-on-the-cake-type-thing, it has given me a final challenge within a challenge. If I can accept and work with whatever I find on the mat on a menstruating day, then surely I can do it any time. Yes, by this point on the journey I might have imagined myself doing tree pose for hours at a time and wrapping myself up into knots even the Brixham fisherman would be intimidated by, but instead here I am. A hormonal wreck with a bloated belly, blotchy skin and constantly on the verge of tears - a literal heap on the floor.
But between me and the floor there's a mat. A yoga mat. And nothing is coming between us.
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