Look at this face people.
This face has done thirty whole days of yoga and blogging all in one go. In January. In the cold. And against all odds.
Yes! Today is the final day of my thirty day yoga (and blogging) challenge with You Tuber Adriene Mishler, craftily entitled TRUE. And true I have been - to my blog readers, to my yoga mat, to my body, to myself. Get me.
Today's final practice video was called 'Be You' and in honour of that Adriene dropped all types of instruction, got rid of her mic and invited me to just dive in and move in a way that suited me. This, it has to be said, was weird.
I am so used to the comfort of a guiding voice, some gentle tuition to help me make sure I don't do myself some major damage. But today was different. Today I had to trust myself and the knowledge I've built up over the last thirty days to create a flow of movement that worked for me.
Most of the time I found myself peaking at Adriene and having a go at whatever she was doing but occasionally, I did 'veer off the railroad tracks', as she puts it, and just listen to what my body was calling for. A neck roll. A cat-cow. A down-dog so still you could have fired an arrow through it and I wouldn't have flinched.
I think the purpose of this was to drop the assumed goal that we have to use yoga (or any exercise) to transform ourselves in some way. To let that shit go and just FEEL it. To move with no guidance for half an hour on a yoga mat (wearing your magic leggings) in the peace of your own home is a special kind of conversation with yourself, let me tell you.
The whole programme was called TRUE for a reason and, as far as I can see, did not once promise you that you would turn into something else as a result of it (unlike the Squat Magic on Day Two - remember that?!). This exercise programme was unique in that way. It was about taking the time to circle back in to who you really are in all your glorious imperfections and amazingly brilliant messiness. And doing that every single day. For thirty days. No matter how you feel.
And if you've been following this blog then you'll know that for me, that has not been without its challenges. When the hubby's lung tore open and he was rushed to hospital on Day Eleven, I really thought that was it for me. The last thing I needed was to be rolling around on a mat and blabbing to the world about it. But that same hubby wouldn't let me bow out that easily and I couldn't deny a man with one working lung now, could I?
The emotional and physical ups and downs that followed were inevitable after such a big event. I mean, that's life, isn't it? We human beings are complex beasts and I think it's a big misconception that we should aim for happiness all of the time. Even the more challenging emotions are integral parts of who we are and need to be welcomed in as guests just as readily as the happiness. 'Welcome and entertain them all!' said Rumi, Sufi mystic and Little Lad's namesake. 'Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.'
Well I say that to welcome somebody you need a proper welcome mat. And mine is long and spongy and gets rolled out every single day.
At least it will, from now on.
Thank you Adriene.
Thank you You Tube.
Thank you all you readers of this blog.
Thank you hubby.
Thank you Big Lad and Little Lad.
Thank you me.
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For those of you who might want the full poem:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
By Jellaludin Rumi