I have to admit something. Before I do, keep in mind that this blog is not intended to promote yoga–I simply want to share my experience, I want to tell you the truth. You deserve the truth.
Now that that’s settled…
I am really fucking mad at yoga. It’s been confusing the shit out of me, in many ways.
I’ve stopped running. Almost completely. What I used to do every morning, what used to give me moments of clarity, has been replaced with a 15 minute meditation and hour long asana practice.
So yeah, I’m pissed right now. I love running. I miss running, I miss the way my body feels during a post-run shower.
You’re probably thinking, well just go run! That’s what I told myself at first too. But it’s not that simple. I’m not mad because yoga has taken Morning Run’s time slot. I’m mad because yoga makes me have no desire to run. I don’t know why yoga does this to me, but it is the most visible change that it has had on my life as of now.
Maybe I just don’t have enough sweat in my body to run in the morning and go to Hot [Get Your Ass Handed To You] Yoga in the afternoon. I literally could have wrung out my tank top after class tonight.
It makes me want to cry, typing the words: I don’t run anymore. I prided myself on being a runner. It was so a part of who I was, something I liked about myself. I was the coach and creator of a running-training program for GSU students–those nights we practiced were really fun and inspiring. Running made me feel strong.
How can something like that be lost, in just three short months?
I want so badly to want to run.
When I was in California, a friend from high school asked me a question that I didn’t know the answer to at first.
“How has it changed you?” she asked while we were at a bar, leaning in close, yelling over the music and conversations.
“How has what changed me?”
“Yoga.” She smiled.
At first I was thinking about the mental stuff…am I more at peace? Am I happier? Am I a better person?
I had no idea.
I told her I didn’t know.
“I mean physically. Is it changing your body? Do you live differently?” she asked.
“I don’t run anymore,” I said, realizing in that second how badly I wished that I still was a runner.
Yoga is literally getting up in my face, holding me by the collar, challenging my identity. I don’t know what to give up, what to let go, and what to hold on to. I’m not just talking about running…I mean everything. What is dear to me? What makes me Georgiana Lee Abel?
The yogic philosophy emphasizes letting go–of thoughts, judgement, ego, things that no longer serve us. I get that. I feel that. I feel how that benefits my life. Yoga also encourages us to forgive. But how do we know if forgiving someone or letting go of something is really just a surrendering of our self worth in disguise? Are these spiritual devices keeping us in bad situations?
How do we know if we are getting fucked over? How do I know if I should still be running?
Towards the end of the hot flow class tonight, we did Karnapidasana. I think that’s how you spell it.
I truly didn’t even realize how funny looking of a pose this was until I googled it–while I was in the pose, I didn’t feel funny looking at all. At first though, this pose was really hard for me. My knees were hovering above my head, I wasn’t letting them release all the way down to the ground. A part of me felt like, my body shouldn’t be able to bend like this, my knees shouldn’t be able to touch my ears, hold the pose here Georgie. Don’t let go. I started shaking.
Then the teacher (Kendall, who is awesome) came over to my mat to give me an adjustment. She could tell I was clenching, holding. She barely even touched me, but I slowly released my knees down to the mat. My knees were touching my ears. The pose become solid, I stopped shaking. I felt strong and rooted down.
Karnapidasana became super relaxing, it made me melt.
I gained strength by letting go.
Maybe this is what being strong is all about. Maybe this is how we find what really lies within us.
Whether it’s letting go through forgiveness or giving up judgements or accepting that you have lost the desire to run…it’s all the same. In the big picture, forgiving someone is only going to benefit you, give you peace of mind, make you strong. The same goes for giving up something you once did, whether it was a good or bad thing. The universe, and your life, is undoubtedly unfolding as it should. Go with it.
Yes, I’m still mad at yoga. But I’m mad like I used to sometimes get mad at my Mom or Dad when I was a teenager (or when I am feeling like a bratty 22 year old)…in the end, I know they’re right. It’s just that the thing they’re right about is hard to accept or carry out.
Don’t be a brat. Surrender. Let it go. Be strong.