Last week, I almost wept in my yoga class. Nothing hurt. No twisting, bindings or inversions (I’m terrified of inversions). No pulled muscles or ligaments. No injuries.
I’m hesitating as I write this, because I’m still grappling with why I fought back tears during the closing sun salutations.
I am relatively new to yoga. An injury last year was the final push I needed after years of saying, “when will I find the time?” Yoga is now a critical part of my running/triathlon training regime. It is a conduit to achieve more flexibility, balance and strength. Until about 3 months ago, yoga was simply a way to take care of my body, to ensure racing longevity. And in the 9 months I’ve been practicing yoga weekly, my body is thanking me. And now, it seems my mind wants some of the action too.
A few weeks ago, I found myself reverting to Shavasana at night when I can’t sleep. I also started to set my intentions before each run or swim just as I do before a yoga class. Then last week I found myself weeping in my husband’s arms when I got home from my yoga class.
Sarah Lynn, my yoga instructor and owner of Journey Yoga, is a very lively and active instructor – often playing music I would love for my running playlist. She’s passionate and energetic. If you’re looking for a quiet and gentle yoga class, Sarah Lynn is not the instructor for you. Last week, however, it was a quiet class. There was no music. No loud chatter, just thoughtful instruction. We were asked to simply engage or activate various muscles during the practice that would in turn elicit a reaction from other muscles in the body. Shoulders, back, legs, hands, arms, you name it.
During class, Sarah Lynn helped us with visualizations and regular reminders to breathe. And reminders that it’s okay to underachieve. That it’s okay not to work our muscles as hard as we possibly can. About half way through the class, my movements became more fluid, my poses were more balanced and strong, and my stretches were deeper than usual. Sweat was streaming out of every pore in my body. As we went through the last few sets of sun salutations, a tsunami of emotions moved up my feet and through my whole body. I wanted to sob. I almost did.
Why? I don’t really know. It took me by surprise. This practice was easy, yet so hard. The hard parts (consciously using all my muscles) made the balancing and poses seem easy, fluid and strong. On the drive home, so many images and emotions flashed through my mind — like fast-forwarding a movie. What continues to stand out in my mind is the journey to achieve my goal with running, racing, triathlon-ing… and all the training that exhausts me, frustrates me yet thrills me. But I don’t know what my actual goal is, or where my journey is taking me. Is it really okay to underachieve? Or not work as hard as I possibly can?
Oh this is cheesy as heck, I know. But I can’t shake how I felt that night. And I still don’t really know what it meant. Or why I think it’s supposed to mean something. Or anything for that matter.
But whatever it was, I think I may have started another journey.
Thank you Sarah Lynn.