It's Friday. It's day eighteen. It's time to . . . surrender.
Having been on this 30 day yoga journey for over a fortnight now, I find myself scanning the calendar that You Tuber Adriene Mishler sent out before it all began, looking at the title themes of each day and trying to second-guess what style of yoga sesh to expect.
'Soften', as you might expect, was a slow, restorative practice with plenty of sitting and lying and breathing and generally being still. 'Kindle' was all about lighting a fire in the core and involved numerous plank variations (ouch). 'Believe' involved a truckload of empowering poses that made me want to take flight and take on the whole damn world.
So you get the picture.
And when I saw today's theme I felt a delicious sense of anticipation: 'Surrender'.
Surely this would mean A LOT of allowing the body to melt into the ground, and letting gravity do its work and generally giving up to the forces of . . . well . . . doing nothing. This had to be about chilling.
And chilling was just what I needed after the week I've had. Because it was this time last week that my husband was rushed into hospital with a collapsed lung (or spontaneous pneumothorax if you're posh) and our whole worlds changed in the time it takes for a balloon to pop. After a worrying few days in hospital, he was finally sent home with instructions to rest and a reminder that he was 'in no way fixed'. He would need to be watched closely and go back to hospital for further x-rays in a few days.
So by this morning I was ready. Ready to surrender to the trials and tribulations of the past week. Ready to surrender to my breath and my tired, heavy body on a warm, spongy yoga mat. This was my day.
Or maybe not.
Because Adriene, it seemed, meant something entirely different.
What as my first clue? Well for starters she wasn't wearing a comfy looking sweater and fluffy socks like she usually does when we're about to let everything hang loose. She looked more like an athlete in her tank top and leggings. A trim, toned, energetic looking athlete. NOT a good sign.
Then she actually said she was going to kick my butt today. That we were going to 'work hard'. What? I didn't sign up for this!
Oh, hang on, actually yes I did.
And that being the case, I had no choice but to dive in and well, surrender, to what she had in store for me.
Actually, once I let my thoughts and expectations dissolve into the background, and focused on my breath, I found I could really be in the movements as they were happening. This was preferable to fighting them and wishing they were something else. Honest.
So as I somehow moved through the fast-flowing stretches and poses, that's when I realised what an important practice this was going to be for me and millions of others.
By 'surrender', Adriene actually meant surrendering to the expected results of the yoga. The flat tummy, the ripped arms, the toned booty - could we detach ourselves from all of that and actually just be in the moment with it? Wouldn't that be more fun? Wouldn't that be more humane?
And while I was attempting that blinking side plank with my hips wobbling and my tummy shaking, whilst it wasn't exactly pleasurable, it was quite good fun just to see what happened. It was quite interesting to notice the warmth that it kindled. And it was quite a nice surprise when I managed to hold it for more than a millisecond.
Towards the end, when I was finally engaged in a nice restorative forward bend, Adriene said: "The toned muscles, the losing weight, the transformation, comes from your commitment to the self, not the other way around." And something changed inside me.
Of course I knew this to be true already. I'm not stupid. I absolutely know my self worth cannot come from a trim physique, clear skin and glossy hair, but sometimes you just need to hear a certain thing at a certain time when you're in a certain mood. And this was that.
Of course! For real wellbeing, for real health, you need to be committed to loving yourself on every level. Loving yourself when you brush your teeth. Loving yourself when you go to sleep. Loving yourself in the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the friends you choose, the way you move. It's all one big humongous act of full-on, heart-bursting love and that's when you look like a freakin' rock star. Better than a rock star, actually.
So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to leave it there and rock on through to the bedroom and put my pyjamas on at five in the afternoon. Cos that, my friends, is the rock and roll lifestyle.
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