I was recently asked what yoga means to me. My sentiments about this question are deeper and richer than a seven layer buttercream cake. The answer directly correlates to the current affairs of my life, so I simply stated,
“Yoga is okay with not knowing the answers.”
There were many ingredients needed to create this delicious answer so I’ll need to backtrack a bit. It started about two months ago when I learned a very pivotal lesson.
Never get off the right side of a motorcycle.
My partner and I were enjoying an afternoon ride on his new Christmas present. I’m no stranger to playing his backpack-koala on a bike. However, this new bike happened to have a massive silver muffler that I managed to singe my skin on for no longer than a second as I hopped off the wrong side (pivotal lesson #2: never wear shorts on a motorcycle).
All it took was one second of absent mindedness to give me a solid second degree burn on my calf and a buddy for life. My partner consoled me saying that everyone would know what kind of burn it was and how it’s a ‘badass’ symbol of my bike riding. All I could see was a lack of seated poses and pressure on my leg in the yoga room. After nursing my wound properly I made peace with the fact that my yoga practice would have to take the back burner (I know, bad joke) for the next week or so.
I manage to keep my humor while teaching as I continuously bumped into my burn, causing an interpretive modern-like yoga dance. I was finally in the home stretch of healing and ready to get back to my regular practice when mishap #2 happened.
Bad skydive landing.
Yes, I know. It’s my own fault because no one is forcing me to jump out of a plane. Yet, with over 100 jumps under my belt I managed to have the weirdest and most pathetic landing of my skydiving career. I failed to judge my distance to the ground when landing and hand a nice, solid smack right on the tip of my derrière. It was one of the moments where you can’t even begin to garner a decent excuse.
I screwed up. Bad.
Accepting my idiocy, I hobbled back to my home where ice, arnica and ice cream ensued. I knew this injury would take its sweet time in recuperating. Standing and sitting became a comedy of errors and my yoga room might as well have been padlocked. The future was looking bleak and no relief was in site. It was time for the third (and I pray final) blow.
Yes, I have struggled with a honking schnoz since I was a little girl. I always thought I’d ask for two more inches of height if the wish fairy came along, but it slowly turned into finding a way to kill off my allergies instead. They became so brutal when I transitioned my life from L.A. to Florida, that I went into see a specialist and the result: Sinusitis. I needed surgery.
I did my fair share of research and found it to be a relatively easy procedure that reaped awesome results. I had this surgery four days ago and now sit on my couch writing this article as chasing after my dogs in the backyard just felt like running a marathon. Doctor’s orders are to just relax for at least 1-2 weeks. This means no physical activity and certainly no Downward Facing Dog.
Cue psychotic meltdown music.
It sometimes feels like the world is against us. Whether it be a string of unfortunate events that prevents us from doing what we love or the mental blockage to achieve what we dream about. I have longed for my asana practice deeply knowing that truly, the best thing for me at this moment is rest. I’m learning to make peace with the unknown and all of the interesting characters that keep it a page turner.
Think of it this way – the best books we read have twists and turns. The character’s fate is always in jeopardy, the love affair is rocky, the answers are scattered in the wind. It’s intriguing and exciting. It’s especially exciting because it’s safe—it’s all happening safely in a land far away on the pages of a book to a character that doesn’t even exist.
But here’s the catch—we do. In the same way that you don’t want to read the last page of the book before you begin, you have to trust that the story of our lives is taking us to the end of each chapter so it can begin an even more rich and exciting progressive one. There will be acts of our lives that are dreary and frustrating, but these pass onto the third act that introduces new characters, themes and opportunities.
I’ve been wanting to skip this chapter when I forgot that I won’t understand the next one if I don’t pay attention to the one I’m currently in.
So, to return to the beginning. What does yoga mean to me? I wanted it to be daily practice, constant strength and endless abilities. Yet my slew of unfortunate (but perfect) events has reminded me that yoga and my life is about being happy in the unknown. Enjoying each moment as it enters my life and trusting that it all serves a purpose to make my story even more amazing.
The End. (for now)