Back to the Mat (Day 36, Year 2)

Up until this morning, it had been a very, very long time since I sat on my yoga mat, an even longer time since I practiced sun salutations on that mat and literally years since I taught from the mat. 

I love yoga. Heck, my blog name is inspired by the meaning of the words yoga, "to yoke," as well as Matthew 11:29. But, I got out of the habit and therefore out of practice of practicing. I stopped teaching my regular evening classes when we moved. Life got busier and my evenings belonged to my kids, not my students. I kept teaching kids, until that sort of naturally fizzled. I wanted to focus on my writing and be a writer, not a yoga teacher, so naturally I had to stop yoga teaching completely to ensure nothing would get in the way of my writing. And maybe I wasn't cut out to be a yogini or a teacher and should just let that all go. 

I wrote a paragraph of excuses (much like the one above) in my head and avoided my mat for a very, very long time. 

I am not sure what brought me back to the mat this year, but I am glad I found my way there. 

My plan today was to do a class on the Peloton app, alone, without children. I found my old roll of thick yellow mats in the basement and even cut myself a fresh one. Nicholas was so excited and kept asking to do it with me--he kept saying, "remember mommy, remember when you taught the babies? Remember when you taught me?" Still I resisted. And then I found an Encanto themed class; so while we don't talk about Bruno, we do sing all those songs together and there is no way I could exclude my little yogi from that. 

Nicholas is not quiet yoga partner; but he is a fun one. He insisted we take several dance breaks and spun me around a few times. My favorite poses were like finding old friends--the Warrior flow took me in and left me feeling strong and focused. 

Balances were fun and accessible. I always love when I find my balance. It is such a gift to know that I can do that--I can balance on one foot and simultaneously pose one way or another. Balances show us anything is possible if we just draw ourselves right to our cores, finding the lightness that aligns perfectly with the strength within us. When I find a balance, I feel rooted and tall--like I can lovingly conquer the world. 

I love this idea in yoga that you find poses. It changes the entire dynamic of the movement. When you find a pose, you find it with your breath and your cognition and your heart and your joints and all the connective tissue in your body. It is as if everything clicks into place. 

When I taught, I could always see that moment a student found a pose. It was not that the pose was perfect looking or Yoga Journal cover ready. Instead, it was the strong, relaxed, balanced energy that surrounded my student, signaling the pose had been found. Sometimes it was a smile, as if to say, "this is what it feels like to be happy in my body."

During eka pada utkatasana (figure four pose. I also love the Sanskrit words for poses,), Nicholas grabbed on to me for balance. I made him let go; I don't have his balance. I told him what I always told my students--your balance belongs to you and only you; if you lose it, you can find it, if you try. 

I feel like I taught, again, from my mat today. Nicholas lifted his arm off me and he promptly and goofily stumbled out of the balance. But, then you know what he did? He tried again. And again. And then again on the opposite side and then he was quiet. 

I looked over, because Nicholas is never quiet unless he is doing bad things, and there he was--balancing. He found his pose, it was written all over his sweet face. 

Of course, students are the best teachers. Seeing Nicholas find his pose, reminded me that I can find my way back to the mat, even though it has been so long. Once a yogini, always a yogini, I just have to find that piece of myself again, because it is mine to find.