Are you there, yoga? It’s me, Jennifer.
Sometimes I subconsciously, and consciously, avoid my yoga practice—moving my body in a myriad of other ways—simply to not have to look in the magic mirror of my sticky mat.
Because my yoga practice doesn’t lie.
Some days, my practice lets me know that I’m exhausted—depleted and pushing through the day as a stay-at-home yogi with two active children, because I have no choice.
On days like these, I feel grateful for this revelation, but, simultaneously, I feel cheated that I can’t listen to what I genuinely need.
What I need is sitting on the couch poring over a novel. What I need is to eat more than normal or to take a day and nap and not eat much at all.
What I have is two kids who need routine—two extremely mobile little people who can’t have a mommy sitting on the sofa reading and napping and munching on peanuts.
So, instead of unrolling my sage green sticky mat, I bring some weights up from the basement and press out a few sets, to lift the fog of being up with a teething baby all night; to get my heart and blood pumping; to feel alive and alert because there is not enough coffee in the world for some rainy, grey mornings.
This is what I normally would do on a day when I need rest but can’t grant myself permission to take it.
Today, however, I unrolled my sage green mat—I sit here typing this on the carpet next to one child playing and another sleeping in her electrically moving swing—in double pigeon pose—after a juicy yoga practice.
Okay, it was a dehydrated yoga practice.
My body did not feel supple or strong today.
No, I felt the fatigue rippling deeply through my tissues from running and weight training and Pilates and other days’ yoga practices. I felt last night’s lack of sleep and this morning’s rainy haze.
I switch shins, so that my other hip is now opening up in double pigeon.
The soft tissues surrounding my hip joints begin to feel more pliable—more ready to release a difficult last two weeks and, possibly, opening up to prepare for more challenges, more joy and other general life occurrences.
I switch my shins again, so that my tighter right hip has another opportunity to let go of stale, residual tension—and I feel ready to stop fighting.
I feel ready to stop fighting my daughter as she tries my patience.
I feel ready to stop demanding that my husband do things my way.
I feel ready to listen to the reality that my own busy body needs to take it easy—at least for today; at least for a few hours.
My hips suddenly feel deliciously relaxed.
I change the crossing of my legs one more time and notice the adjoining lightness in my chest.
Sometimes, we don’t have the space within our lives to stop and sit, when we have active little children or a job that doesn’t offer a day off when we desperately want it, but we can give ourselves the space to listen to what we need and crave.
And that’s the thing about being a good listener, both with ourselves and with those around us—often, just being heard is enough.