I did yoga today. It was the kind of session where sweat had pooled on my mat. By no means was I able to accomplish every move as intended. In fact, there was a whole section where my brain could not process the instructions or their performance on-screen throughout the two or three rounds in which they were part of the flow. I attempted them, though, ending in a lizard lunge each time and feeling my hip flexors release just a little bit more with each pulse and breath.
At the end of those 45 minutes, I had no problems relaxing into shavasana. My feet fell to their most comfortable position. My shoulder blades wanting to wrap up and under unprompted. There was no furrow in my brow or struggle to slow my heart rate or mind or breath. It all came with ease.
As I got up from the mat, I felt pliable, fluid, and in balance. It reminded me of sessions years ago with my favorite yoga instructor. She’s no longer on this mortal plane, but my muscle memory of her guidance and her desire to make shared yoga practice a thing that all body types can and should enjoy was with me this afternoon. I was inside my body and happy to be there with all its imperfections and benefits. It got me through those intense stretches and positions as it has gotten me through every event of my life, and I was grateful.
I wasn’t sure I would find myself to that kindness and gratitude at the start of the day. Today’s meditation was about self-forgiveness. Timely, as I haven’t been very forgiving of my body this week. I joked with Tiffany that I felt like the pregnant man emoji that may be coming to our devices soon. I have felt in conflict with my middle and the scale and my naked form in the mirror or fully clothed in pictures. Even my return to doing yoga in the mornings has been an exercise in self-critique rather than stretching and breathing.
During those twenty-minute flows in the AM, I’ve been frustrated by my forward folds and my tight hips, and my even tighter hamstrings. My TikTok For You Page has recently been frequented by people cracking their backs in yoga positions and talking about mobility and flexibility, and I’ve been envious. It has felt like this frame of mine hasn’t wanted to twist or bend to my liking at all this week.
And so, when I sat in front of this blank page earlier to write about gratitude for this body and to grant myself kindness, I wasn’t feeling it. Of course, those are the right words and the right thoughts and the perspective to have, but this belly is still here, and the number on the scale isn’t the one I was hoping to see, and wait, let me suck it in.
But then I did good yoga. “Lock in the practice,” instructors sometimes say. Far more often than not, I find that a difficult thing to do. The vibes that leave the mat with me don’t stay for long. As I write this, though, they are still here.
And I am thankful for this body I’m in.
And I forgive myself for not granting it the grace this week that I know it deserves.
It contains all that I am. It works. It takes care of me.
I should return the favor.
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