Return to the Mat
I’ve only ever made one New Year’s resolution – to take yoga classes two times a week. It was December 2009. I just moved to New Jersey from Tennessee, and I was working as a Research Assistant at a regional magazine. My 25-year-old metabolism was slowing down, and I needed to replace my former fitness routine of lugging 200 Scantrons across a 600-acre, hilly campus on muggy Southeastern days.
A friend invited me to join her yoga class. She had been practicing for almost a year and was pleasantly surprised with the results.
They had me at Savasana. The deep stretches felt amazing, and there was a sense of accomplishment in finding and holding the poses, but complete calmness of the mind… that was some divine intervention.
Yoga became my lifestyle over the next 6 years. The time I spent on my mat was a worthwhile investment – I increased my flexibility, improved my posture, gained strength, and quieted my overactive mind.
In 2016, my husband and I had a beautiful home, rewarding careers, financial stability, our health, and a loving support system. We wanted to share our blessings, so we started the adoption process. That same year, I stopped practicing yoga. Two years later, I had a nervous breakdown.
Now I doubt spending more time in downward dog these past two years alone would’ve prevented this – the complex reality is the enormous stresses of the adoption process, followed by the unique challenges of parenting an adoptive child, while being a full-time, working Mom trying to maintain my relationships without taking time to recharge, now that did me in.
Yoga wasn’t the only thing I stopped doing. I stopped going hiking. I stopped getting eight hours of sleep. I stopped going out with girlfriends every other weekend. I stopped eating salads for dinner – and other foods that weren’t chicken fingers, pizza, hot dogs, and tacos.
Do you ever wonder why we quit doing the things that made us happy, healthy, successful… once we achieve said happiness, health, and success? My boss and leadership coach have been recommending I read this book The Slight Edge for over six years now. I finally read it this past November… exactly when I needed to. It’s a game-changer.
I’m not going to beat myself up over my derailment. Moms, especially, are great at that. I just needed to bring the train to a screeching halt, sit idle for a few months, and then full steam ahead. My overflowing plate needed a little Marie Kondo-ing. This Winter, I purged some habits, thoughts, and activities that just aren’t serving me anymore…to make room for ones that do.
Ten years after I made that very first New Year’s resolution, I made it again. In January, I started attending yoga classes twice a week. And, with the exception of mid-April through mid-May when I had an ugly bout of bronchitis, I’ve made that resolution a reality.
Life is a balancing act, navigating what we can and can not control, and I've found that beautiful things happen when you know when to push and when to surrender. Yoga is my practice for life. Even seasoned yogis fall out of the most basic poses now and again or struggle with achieving a certain pose. It's all about how you deal with that — how you talk to yourself in that moment, how quickly you get back into a pose, and whether or not you trust the process.