I went to a restorative yoga class for the first time last night, while simultaneously playing host to a slowly ebbing migraine that nonetheless pulsed behind my right eye and refused to go gently into that good night.
I get tired of migraines sidelining me and I was determined to go to this class anyway. Besides – I knew that it certainly wouldn’t make my head feel worse.
And while it would have been nice to arrive to this class pain-free, I simply didn’t have the energy to care. And that turned out to be for the best. I didn’t bother with my usual anxiety, perfectionism and gracelessness – usually on hand to psyche me out like my grade-school gym teacher any time I try anything more physical than walking.
Instead, I gave myself permission to do a really bad job of following the instructions and gratefully accepted all the help from the instructor and the helper (there were a lot of blankets, bolsters and blocks involved in this class). The kicker was realising that I couldn’t wear my glasses, making the entire room as blurry as a Monet. Even more reason to do a ‘bad job’ of the poses.
The other thing I didn’t really have energy for was breathing properly, and focusing on the breath, and all that. Not at first, anyway. And that was ok with me. I was doing the poses, I was in a warm, dim room with several like-minded souls who were all craving the same calm and peace. I let my mind chatter away and breathed automatically and just didn’t care if I was counting to four or not. And of course, that’s when I calmed down. In a non-striving, it’s enough to be here and see what this class is like kind of way.
And then I started to breathe and focus on the breath, and breathed and focused on the breath. And breathed and focused on the breath.
I’m going to peel away the ‘everything is fine!’ facade for a few moments and be real.
It’s been a tough year. I read the news with horrified fascination and then try to take media breaks, only to be dragged back into the fray when the next
ridiculous horrible stupendously stupid headline unfurls. Uncertainty is something I am very uncomfortable with, like most people, and I feel like every day I get a double portion of it, from the world at large, and as a freelancer. It’s making me tired and sad. It’s making me not recognise myself. It’s shaking my confidence daily. It’s keeping me from being creative.
So I started to breathe and focus on the breath, and breathed and focused on the breath. And breathed and focused on the breath.
I breathed until it felt like my heart was going to break with all the feelings I’ve been holding in check.
And I heard a little voice. It said: