Today is a day I miss The OM Place for giving me the best yoga classes I have ever taken. For helping me discover my voice and teaching style. For showing me how to care for others’ hearts and bodies, and for training me how to teach others to care for themselves. The OM Place gave me poetry.
Today is also a day I miss Exhale Studios and all of my incredible, fearless students who allowed me to hone my skills with them. Who let me speak into their souls in restorative, and who braved my crazy kriyas in power class. Who gave me surprise t-shirts and followed me to froyo after hot yoga each Wednesday night and laughed away the sweat and pain with me.
My body was my own back then. I was the master of my own body and my own breath and my own heart, and I worked hard and consistently and gratefully to get there.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a regular yoga practice of my own. Call it mixed priorities, a lack of teachers who speak to me, or simply laziness. But there you have it. And not only have I been missing my practice, I am now growing a human in my personal space.
I am no longer the master of my own body.
But I will be again.
This morning I am reminded of mantras that were spoken over me, and mantras that I spoke over my students…mantras that give life and courage and permission to be exactly where you are on your journey. To let your body be exactly where it is on its journey.
Permission is a powerful word. Freedom, as we love to use so frequently in the Kingdom of Christ, is also a powerful word, but it implies there is still work to be done- a choice to be made. And that choice is permission. I have freedom to be exactly where I am, but have I really given myself permission to be there? Christians the world over have freedom to be full of peace and joy, but have yet to make the choice to live that way through the crazy circumstances that come with life on earth.
Permission says that the choice has already been made. I have freedom and SO CHOOSE to allow my body space and patience as it works through its junk. I CHOOSE to allow my tight muscles to stay just a little longer in this supertight stretch so they can loosen just a little bit more. I CHOOSE to keep breathing when it feels like I most certainly can’t, whether from physical or emotional exertion. I CHOOSE to be okay with the process- life is hard, marriage is hard, pregnancy is hard, yoga is hard… But I choose to be okay with the process and I know because I’m staying in the process today, it’ll be a little bit easier to stay tomorrow.
I choose because I have given myself permission to choose.
I have been reminded of my yoga practice off and on for some time now, remembering the things I used to speak over the women in my classes and how they would sometimes come to me and share their personal and intimate struggles and triumphs- sometimes right after class, sometimes years later.
What a humbling experience to walk with someone on her journey.
It’s easy to forget I’m also walking with myself on my own journey and that, too, should be a humbling experience.
I’ll post a blog at some point about how unspeakably challenging pregnancy has been thus far. And it will be totally full of the reality of pregnancy, certainly not glossed over with rose-colored speech or ‘it’ll all be worth it’ attitude. Because I have freedom to be in my process. I have permission to be exactly where I am- which is stinking hard. Really, super, crazy, unbelievably hard. I’m not certain I’ve done anything harder in my life, and it’s only been 4 1/2 months. I hear it gets easier, but it certainly hasn’t yet.
I am allowed to be where I am in process.
But I can stay just a little bit longer, too. I can breathe just a little bit deeper, and relax the spaces between my eyes, and just behind each ear. I can swallow away the tension in my jaw, and release all the way down to the places between my toes.
I can stay in the process just a little bit longer today, knowing it’ll be just a little bit easier tomorrow.
I am the master of my own body. I am the master of my own breath. I am the master of my own heart. And I can stay just a little while longer.
Let go of those thoughts. Let them slip by like a passing cloud. Give yourself permission to sink a little deeper.
Extend gratitude for yourself.
Extend gratitude for your neighbor.
Take one more big breath in
…and let it go.