I’ve been having difficulty with a couple of things lately. Firstly, the work that I do to earn a living requires a high level of concentration and attention to detail. If I get distracted or am easily irritated, I can not concentrate. I become frustrated and I can’t get my work finished. Being a person that is easily distracted and easily irritated by noises (dogs barking, rattling fans or air conditioners, among many, many other noises) this means that I get frustrated a lot. I begin to take it out on myself and make myself feel guilty for not being able to “cope” and, for crying out loud, to just be normal. Meanwhile, I don’t think most people have the attention span to sit still for five minutes and could never work from home, but that’s besides the point: I need to be able to concentrate to do my job.
Recently I’ve been having trouble sitting down and working at all. Goals that I set for myself months ago have been sitting on a shelf. Every once in a while I stare at the yellow paper pad they’ve been scribbled upon and rewrite and revise on more yellow paper. This is not helping them to be achieved in the least, writing and rewriting these goals. It’s a lot easier for me to climb up real mountains and tons of steps than it is for me to reach mountains of business goals lately.
The second trouble I’m having has to do with my yoga practice. After leaving Mysore, India last year I remember thinking to myself “Gee, I can’t imagine not wanting to do this yoga practice every day”. All I can say now is HA! to that sentiment. While I still enjoy doing the practice, I find it nearly impossible to get up every morning and do it on my own. Which, you might ask – why does anyone need to get up and do yoga every morning?And the answer is this: Because I feel so much better when I do than when I don’t. So why wouldn’t I?
Well, I have excuses. I was going twice a week to Mysore style classes at It’s Yoga Puerto Rico, which was GREAT, but those have been put on hold for now as the instructor is on holiday (which lasts for about three months here in Puerto Rico) and he and his wife just had a baby. So it’s up to me to self-motivate! And it’s just not happening.
I am beginning to believe that part of the reason I’ve fallen out of a daily routine is that I am a little bored with the practice. Let me explain something to you about the type of yoga that I do: It changes you; it doesn’t change. It’s the same exact routine over and over and over and over again. A few weeks ago I was beginning to learn the second series of Ashtanga and that was exciting and something different, but then, as I said, the instructor got busy with life. But what’s stopping me from doing it on my own?
I can come up with a thousand excuses as to why I haven’t gotten my work done or why my yoga practice happens only once a week (if I’m lucky). The interesting thing is that these two things in my life are related. If I was able to do my yoga practice every day, I’d be less distracted and irritable in my mind. So I’d be able to get my goals accomplished. And I know this. It’s undeniable.
So why don’t I just buckle down and do it? What the hell is stopping me from doing something that I know is good for me? Sometimes I think maybe I’m just lazy. But I’ve never been very lazy. And yet, I face obstacles that I don’t even fully understand.
Last night something happened that made me think that what may be stopping me is an association I have with guilt and pain. Last night I went to a “Rocket” class, a type of “hardcore yoga”, if you will, largely based off of Ashtanga yoga. I don’t normally go to these classes but since I haven’t been keeping up with my own practice and these are fun and help me build arm strength, I go every now and again. Anyway, in the class there is a pose in the Rocket series that we Ashtangis normally skip for some reason. It’s called Pigeon Pose and it looks like this (picture to the right) if done correctly. But my pose never looks like that because my thighs insist on staying a good six inches off the ground instead of hitting the floor.
But last night my instructor, David Kyle, thought I might be able to go a little further than six inches off the floor. David’s a fabulous yoga teacher and I trust him completely, so I happily allowed him to adjust me into the pose, pushing my thighs down another two inches, and completely forgetting why I don’t normally push myself into the pose: Because it makes me cry. Yes, with real tears and sometimes sobbing. I know that sounds crazy, but there are all sorts of different yoga postures that can make people cry or become emotional and this is the one that does it to me. It’s like it touches this nerve deep down inside. I don’t understand much about why we cry or prolactin or the physical chemistry that occurs when we shed tears. I was not even sad or thinking about any particular thing when the tears started pouring. I just started to cry for no apparent reason. It’s not like I was sobbing or anything last night, but big tears started to flow. Luckily my head was down so I don’t think anyone noticed! (Also, I definitely am not the only one who cries during pigeon pose.)
If you’re still confused as to how a yoga posture can make someone cry, (I mean it sounds kind of ridiculous!) it’s sort of like that nerve that gets hit for women when they have sex that sometimes causes them to cry for no reason (and for men to become very confused).
Anyway, I’m not real sure I have a conclusion other than this: I don’t want to do yoga every day because sometimes it brings up emotional things that I don’t want to deal with and don’t even fully understand. And I don’t want to do my work sometimes because I’m scared that I will get frustrated and angry with myself for getting irritated while I’m trying to concentrate and I don’t want to feel that way.
And that’s all I know for now. And it’s all OK, because this is my path and I’m just figuring it out as I go along.