So many of the phrases that I use when talking and writing about palliative care – meeting people where they are, starting low and going slow[ly] (when managing pain meds), following the signs that the body shows us – apply surprisingly well to yoga. Yogic wisdom encourages us to go at our own pace, focusing on where we are in our own practice and on our own mat on any given day.
Of course, I was always the person peeking at the forms on the mats around me, seeing how I stacked up in terms of flexibility, stamina, strength. Searching for ways to compete within this practice of meditation and self-discovery.
Until I hadn’t done yoga in over a year. Until I realized that I could no longer blame my extra pounds on having just had my second baby. . . because that baby is now walking, his chubby legs and gregarious smile propelling him toward – no, into – the adventures of toddlerhood.
Tonight I went back to yoga. To a beginner class. And I reached and I stretched and I lunged and it wasn’t pretty or graceful, but for once my mind stayed on my mat as if there were no one else in the room. It was time for a huge slice of humble pie. With a side of self-acceptance.
I truly did not plan this post as a way to work in another of my old poems, but somewhere on my walk to and from class I remembered that these are lessons I have worked on before:
I salute the Easter sun
from my mat
air sweetened by incense
in place of lilies
When people spoke of yoga
saving their lives
I was a skeptic
But each time I rise
I am reborn
Tonight, of course, we started in savasana.