After my recent mountain trip, I was pretty unhappy with my level of fitness. My balance, flexibility and endurance were not adequate for rock-hopping and hiking steep slopes. So, upon returning I got my butt to the gym (for the first time in over six months!) . First stop: yoga class.
When last I did yoga the most difficult thing was my fear and shame. My self-criticism has been quite unbearable in yoga in the past, defeating all the ‘peace-of-mind benefits. I despised how little I could do, felt tidal waves of shame, was deeply afraid of pain and injury, and experienced profound feelings of failure. The only place from there was despair.
YUCK! Who would volunteer for this experience?
But something has changed. I went into the gym dreading that yoga class, and yet when I was there, moment to moment, I was completely OK. I would feel my limitation (“I can’t do it right”) then came the shame, then fear. This time I was able to take in the direction “just breathe” because I prayed for help.
I’ve recently come back to a 12-Step program after a long absence, and just celebrated 9 months of new-found serenity and health. I’ve been actively learning to pray, and with the help of my sponsor and others, get comfortable with God.
Religion was not presented to me in a favorable light growing up, and although my spirituality has always run deep and wide, I’ve missed out on so much that mainstream religion has to offer. The biggest challenge for me in 12-Step (and everywhere else?) is to Let Go and Let God.
But a simple miracle occurred in that yoga class. When I prayed deeply for help I went from feeling desperate and broken to a sense of deep peace, where I could stop fighting and let go of pain and fear. It has revolutionized not only my experience of yoga, but my relationship with my own body.
By asking for help I was able to stay present and “just breathe.” I feel like I’ve met God inside in a really tangible way. And I carry God with me where ever I am.
Now I not only get through a yoga class, I can enjoy it. And all the benefits!