Monday, December 10, 2007

Yoga and me

Each Monday night, I drag myself to yoga. Yoga is for my body. My body appreciates it. Proud Warrior, Moon Salutations, Snake Goddess... these are the poses that twist and stretch my tired computer chair muscles. We end each yogic session with "Shavasna" (fifteen minutes of relaxation). I usually fall into a deep sleep. Needless to say, most people love yoga.

But wow does my mind hate it. I mean, it detests being asked to be quiet for a full 75 minutes. I walk in and immediately it starts in on me. How long will we be at this? Gawd, I'm bored. And where did that roll of flab come from? You're not as good at this as you used to be. And I wish the comedy writers' strike would end so I could find out what happens to Jim and Pam.

While I bend into triangle, my mind runs over the errors of my fantasy football ways. Why do I keep thinking Calvin Johnson will have a big game? As I roll my body to seated pose from forward fold where our yoga instructor reminds us to "enjoy that nice feelin' you get when you come up," I'm too miserable thinking about unpaid bills, emails from friends I've ignored and Christmas gifts I was supposed to order online last week.

The closer we get to the end of our practice, my mind becomes desperate. What "Q" word can I play to get ahead in that threeway Scrabble game? It throws up all kinds of mental clutter: college crushes that went nowhere, friendships that haven't developed, dissatisfaction with being 46, anxiety about the state of my business, longing for California and sunshine, irrational pissed-offness at the Bengals.

My brain is resentful that I've exchanged graduate school for yoga, which catered to my mind, made it feel appreciated and encouraged busyness and mind clutter. Three hours parked at a desk left me energized and happily distracted. Yoga is more like signing up for a weekly lobotomy.

Sometimes things get so out of hand for my mind, by the time we lie on the floor on our backs, tears come out of nowhere. My brain is angry, gives up and lets go. I can never even tell you why I cry or what it's about. Then I crash and am sound asleep. Many weeks my "braid down her back" instructor has to specifically call to me to "wake me up."

Needless to say, I don't do yoga during the week. I always tell myself that I will. But I never do. My mind won't allow it. It starts screaming before I ever get near the mat.

And that's why I make myself go to the sessions at the YMCA every week. I keep thinking that eventually my mind will have a complete meltdown and shut up for fifteen minutes. At least, here's hoping.

Tonight as I left, knowing this was the last session until the new year, my instructor thanked me for coming saying, "I always like watching you. You commit to yoga so wholeheartedly. I can see you leaving all of your life and home behind in your efforts to do your practice."

Ha! If she only knew. Or maybe she does and that's why she's encouraging me. By the way, I love her. And that's why I keep going back, despite the weekly onslaught of reasonable reasons I could justifiably miss, after all, there are about Shut up Brain. Time for yoga.


brian said...


Just taking the time to observe your brain churning like that is the first step.


julieunplugged said...

I liked your Buddhist practice over on your blog this week. That's what I need more of. Have you heard of the Eat, Pray, Love book (featured on Oprah last week)? I scoffed at it (my brain is so hyper critical these days). But just because of that, I'm thinking of reading it anyway.

Kansas Bob said...

I like Yoga.. he says the craziest things.

Dave said...

Nice little guided tour of your beautiful mind. Makes me think that I'm overdue for some stream-of-consciousness writing myself. Not to mention some kind of regular exercise routine... :o)

Ampersand said...

All that emotion buried under a traffic jam of thoughts, surfacing only when the mind is reluctantly quiet...the human consiousness, and unconsiousness, is something to behold.

And your stream of consiousness is ever so witty!

jo(e) said...

Oh, we're so much alike! I keep thinking I *should* do yoga because it's a way to prepare for meditation .... but I just don't have the patience. My belly dancing teacher is a yoga instructor so I do get a little bit of yoga in at belly dancing classes.

(I liked the book Eat, Pray, Love. Especially the middle section of the book, which takes place at an ashram in India.)

Sentient Marrow said...

Hmmm... when I do the morning pages exercise from The Artist's Way I do find my mind more quiet for the rest of the day but you already do so much writing that probably wouldn't help.

Scrabble moves usually find their way into my thoughts in the middle of the night such as... "Hmmm... is that a seven letter word? Let me count?" it's crazy...