Updated: Mar 11, 2018
Well folks, today was Day Four of my 30 day yoga challenge with You Tube hit Adriene Mishler, and you can imagine my delight when I found out the theme for today was 'Floor', as in, 'you will not have to move off the floor'.
After yesterday's early morning learning experience when I shunned the snooze button for ridiculously early morning yoga, only to find the video wasn't bloody ready yet, I was not going to be fooled again. So after getting those rascals off to school, I pelted up the hill back home (extra brownie points for power walking uphill please) and rocked up to my mat around 9.30am.
And not only that, but today I had my magic leggings on. My magic leggings are one of my favourite items in my wardrobe, which, in my world, automatically means my husband hates them (it's a strange phenomenon about marriage that nobody ever tells you about). But I didn't care about that. Today was Day 4. On the floor. And I was wearing what the hell I wanted.
Today's practice, Adriene said, was about connecting with the floor and therefore the 'energetic super highway that runs up and down the spine'. Well that sounded like fun to me for a Friday morning. So when she invited me to lie on my back I did it with gusto, if you can do such a thing.
Before we'd even raised a finger, Adriene mentioned that today I should consider that my time on the yoga mat could perhaps be compared to my time off the mat too. That the things we often struggle with during a full-on yoga sesh might be similar to how we approach things in life. I know this concept from my mindfulness teaching, as how people respond during a tricky meditation can teach them a whole lot about the behavioural patterns they have during life challenges. For example, if, during a sitting meditation, you start obsessing that you're not doing it 'right', or that everybody else seems to be getting far more into it than you, then you can ask yourself, do I make a habit of comparing myself to others? Do I strive for perfection? Whatever perfection actually is.
Or if, in the land of Yoga With Adriene, you get cross with yourself every time you fall over during a balancing pose (which I NEVER do - honest), then look at how much patience you have with yourself generally. So it works out that, if we can learn to smile and even laugh every time we fall over on our mats, then is that something we can take out into the world with us?
I loved Adriene's suggestion today that we could think of the yoga mat like a mirror. That our experience on the mat reflects life back to us in the most loving and supportive of ways. So when I was carefully curving myself up into Bridge Pose, I tried not to think about how unattractive my clenched buttocks would look if the mat was, in fact, a mirror, but about how when things get difficult, I often find an excuse to cut the experience short. I wanted to let my bridge collapse pretty soon into the exploration of the pose, as it pulled on my knees in a way that wasn't nice and - probably more notably - I really didn't like the way my belly ballooned out to twice its normal size.
(I have had a thing about my belly since I started gaining 'puppy' fat in my teens and now that I've housed and pushed two massive babies out of my body, I often despair at the sight of my poor, abused tum. I know I am not alone on this but still, on bad days, it hurts)
But today, the mat being my mirror and all that, I smiled to myself, softened my attitude and focused on Adriene's voice as she instructed me to lift my arms up at the same time as lifting my pelvis skywards. This seemed like an entirely awkward invitation at first but, learning from day two's 'Trust' video, I trusted the yoga and went with it. And, in allowing my belly to balloon to whatever size it wanted, and breathing into my poorly knees, I was able to notice a delicious kneading along my upper spine that I never would have known was there otherwise. As my arms floated back down, I really could let the fingertips to 'kiss the earth' as Adriene suggested, because there was a softness to my approach that I'd allowed instead of denied.
Nice. Job done. Mat as mirror. Mirroring life. Got it. Now, moving on . . .
But Adriene was not about to let me off that easily. She started guiding me through another THREE rounds of this curling up and curling down business just to make absolutely sure I had got the idea. And yes, I did. Because it wasn't until the last couple of times that I felt that exquisite caressing from nape of neck to base of spine, a beautiful massage from mother earth herself, along parts of my spine I have never paid any attention to. The mat really did have my back.
Moving through the rest of my day was pretty special, if I'm honest. Especially every time I've looked down at my magical leggings, because I've been reminded of the reason I wore them. Not to piss the hubby off (well, maybe a bit), but to commit to this 30 day yoga journey. So I can learn shit like this every day and feel pretty damn good about it. Or, to coin Adriene's well-turned phrase, to 'find what feels good'.
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