I've been doing yoga off and on for most of my adult life. I started for the strength and flexibility of body, but it called to me as a practice of spirituality too since it's a moving meditation. Given my commitment to it, I wondered why some mornings when I got up, it seemed more like a chore than a joy.
So I decided to see if, or how, I could change that.
Of course I know that I'm not as young as I used to be, not as flexible. It'd be crazy for me to compare myself to an earlier me. But sometimes a bit sneaks in. Certainly I understand that there are times when it's just too hard to get to the mat. I'm not shirking. Yet sometimes I wonder if I'm being a bit lazy. The biggest drawback though, was discouragement. I was doing so well, strengthening my shoulders and then, a setback - my physiotherapist told me, "No more plank. Ever." I know I can adjust. I have in the past, but, well, damn.
Then I came across this passage in "Awakening the Spine," by Vanda Scaravelli.
She asked, "Why are we doing yoga? For health reasons? ... Out of a sense of duty or discipline? ... No. Nothing of the kind. No motivation, no aims, only an agreeable appointment for the body to look forward to. We do it for the fun of it. To twist, stretch, and move around is pleasant and enjoyable, a body holiday."
An agreeable appointment. A body holiday. For the fun of it.
It was just what I needed to see.
Life is good, I reminded myself. There is no need to struggle. Ease in the physical = ease in the spiritual.
That's where the coffee came in.
But isn't coffee bad for you? Yeah, well so is discouragement. And I take joy in my morning coffee.
So I dig out the yoga mat first thing in the morning right after I make the coffee, and I do a routine (or part of one) with a video. When I come to a spot that I can't do any more, I see what I can substitute that brings ease, or I sit back for 30 seconds and sip from my favourite chick mug, while Adriene or Padma does her thing.
It's been fun. Joy isn't found in what I used to be able to do, or what I might be able to achieve in the future. It's found right now on the yoga mat. And today, it's with a cup of coffee.
First published in September 2016 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.