The Real Yoga
Where does the intersection between what happens on my yoga mat and what happens in my life really lie? It’s a question worth considering.
I was having a nice weekend with my family. A very ordinary and fun weekend, running some errands, spending time with the girls and taking care of ourselves in between. Now and again, the small ordinary things can snowball into bigger, not so ordinary, almost frustrating situations. 🙂
We were in the kitchen, about 6 pm Sunday evening. The day had been busier than usual for us. So first, let me confess. I have this horrible habit of cleaning up after people in the kitchen, almost to the point where I have cleaned and put away things, unknowingly, even as the appliances or utensils continue to be used by others. And this is exactly what happened while Herb and Sophia were in the midst of making some candied ginger. Though my intention is always to be helpful, the outcome doesn’t always seem to feel that way to others. I accidentally put away some parchment paper and trays that my daughter had taken out, thinking she no longer needed them. I was happily walking away from the kitchen when all of sudden I heard both Sophia and Herb saying “Where is the parchment paper?”. ” You did it again. You put everything away before we finished using it.” I’ll spare you the details, but the conversation began to go downhill, at least in my mind. I was at my low point for the day in terms of energy and I knew very well that I did not have the capacity to skillfully hold this conversation with Sophia and Herb. A few minutes into the situation, I looked up at both of them and said, “I think Mommy needs a time out”. With my girls I don’t even use time out languaging anymore, but essentially I needed to pause and be quietly to myself.
Pausing – one of many seemingly simple, yet difficult lessons that yoga teaches. It’s not how to do float backs or bakasana, but rather how to have enough self awareness to know when I am not able to manage a situation with skill, patience and kindness. I have learned that that is exactly when I need to take a breath and give myself permission to pause and be to myself, when the kids can be in responsible hands of course. 🙂 I could tell you pretty confidently that jumping into bakasana at that moment in the kitchen would have done me little to no good. In fact, my family might have thought I had gone over the yoga edge. 🙂 My mat is where I prepare for all these moments. Sure the asana is fun and it’s one way to learn these more subtle things. But the real difficult work, in my experience, happens pretty far off the mat and outside of that 75 minute class I take when I can.
To answer the question that I began with – for me my family, my relationship to others and myself is where the Real Yoga happens. And I am happy to have my yoga mat to help prepare me for it!