The Path Traveled

I love Mondays.  Dave is back to work, Ruthie is back to school.  I don't teach Monday morning so my whole day is wide open. I usually do a short hike every Monday with my dog. We're not bagging peaks, just exploring some of the trails in our area. The weekends are my family's busy time, Marilyn, my dog, can be a jerk to other dogs, so we tend to avoid off leash areas during peak times like weekends.  After two days of leashed walks, she's always ready for our Monday adventures, as am I.

I was out with her a few months ago and I stopped at one point and turned around. The path behind me was lit up with glittery fall sunlight, and immediately I thought, "stop and look at the path you've traveled". I got out my phone to take a picture, and later posted the photo and shared the words it inspired.

At the time of the photo I was in quite a funk. I was feeling very dissatisfied, undervalued and inadequate (contradictory, I know).  Very unlike my usual self. There was a class I had been teaching for while that wasn't growing. I was feeling very frustrated with Instagram and the "yoga-lebrities" it was churning out. I even went to a yoga-lebrity's workshop to see if he/she was worth the hype (it wasn't) which only threw me deeper into my funk. 

This photo ended up sticking with me, as did my thought when I took it. A few weeks after the yoga-lebrity's workshop I attended another workshop with Raghunath (totally worth the hype). I was pretty much in tears by the end of the practice. His message went straight to my heart. I honestly can't even remember exactly what it was, but I do know how it played out in my life the following weeks.

I started meditating and reflecting on my journey. When I first started doing yoga, I went alone. I had no friends that did yoga, and knew no one at the studios I went to. I knew all of my teachers names but none of them knew me. I wanted to be part of all the chatting before and after class, but never was. And when I started teaching, it was more of the same. I tried again and again to get my foot in the door at local studios but it's often a "who you know" scenario, and no one knew me. I realize this sounds a bit sob story-ish, and thats not my intention.  There is no bitterness in my sharing this, just simply creating context.

Contrast that to now where I can walk into teach a class of 25 people and know almost all of them by name.  Now I have an AMAZING group of yogi friends (ladies, you know who you are) who I can geek out on yoga stuff with.  Now studio owners approach ME offering me classes rather than me sheepishly handing out my resume. 

Sometimes we forget where we came from. Sometimes when we aren't exactly where we want to be, yet still on the path, we can become dissatisfied and unhappy.

Around the same time I was in a workshop with Desiree Rumbaugh and she made a comment that really stuck with me.  She said that she never really worries about the advanced yogis injuring themselves, its the intermediates she's careful with. 

That got me thinking about intermediates.  And I realized I was in intermediate phase of my teaching career. Not just starting out but not at the tenure of 20+ years. I was looking too far ahead.  And I needed to spend some time looking back to realize I was exactly where I should be and am so incredibly blessed.

Another thing about intermediate yogis is that they usually want the advanced poses SO BAD. Once you 'get' them you're on the other side, but the work to get to the other side is so often overlooked and undocumented. 

I had two major breakthroughs in 2015.  Dropping back into urdva dhanurasana/wheel and pincha mayurasana/forearm balance.

Dropping back was all fear.  Holy moly fear.  I still have much fear I work though on the mat but this was huge, and it had such a profound impact on my life.  No more wishing and wanting.  Time to start doing.

My journey with pincha was a rollercoaster of emotion, frustration and inadequacy being top on the list.  It took so long. Seriously, I started practicing it with out the use of the wall (with years prior of wall practice) in March and finally in late fall I start consistently holding the pose and not falling over every. single. time. 

And you know what it was that helped me finally nail it?  Time. Patience. Practice. No secret, just dedication.

It became apparent after the funk cleared that life lessons on the mat are no joke (not that I every doubted it).  You really can learn about yourself and life through posture practice.  Being in the intermediate phase is hard.  On the mat and off.

So I realized the phase I was in, this intermediate phase, and all the junk that can come along with being in that place.  And I was comparing myself to others, you know the whole "grass is greener" bit.  I needed to compare myself to me. Reflecting on the path I had traveled and all things that had changed for me up until this point revealed the truth that I had faced some serious fears and patience, dedication and time would bring me to where I want/need to be and with that the great funk 2015 cleared and I felt like myself again.

I've never been big on resolutions but the new year and this shift with in myself seem to have coincided naturally so I'm running with it. I have some goals for 2016 and my resolution is to make them happen.