This partly resulted from needing some serious stand-in 30-Before-30 goals to make up for the things I could no longer do because of geography, money, or the fact that, well, I just didn't want to do them anymore. It was also a product of a harsh winter, out of desperation for something that would warm me up, physically and emotionally. We've also had a health challenge going on at work. And, well, I hate the treadmill.
Then, I found a studio that offers all classes for $5... where some of the instructors play rap during classes. They had me at TI.
I've done yoga off and on since college, but this disciplined practice has given me a new appreciation for its benefits. I am getting noticeably stronger and more flexible every day. My back has never felt better. The moment I walk out of the studio is the best and most calm moment of my day. I am more tolerable of others (in general; this particular week has been rough in that department) and more accepting of myself. I've made friends. And, having pushed myself to take as many as 8 days of class in a row, I have a brand new appreciation for child's pose.
I realized last night that I've been doing this, metaphorically, since New Year's. Retreating. Resetting. Reevaluating. Looking for respite and finding relief in quiet moments by myself.
In the past, I've looked at that as a character flaw, as myself running away or pushing others away when the world gets to be too much. Sometimes people understand, and sometimes they do not: "You hold so much inside sometimes." "It's like the sun goes away."
But I've come to look at child's pose--the retreat--as a perfectly healthy and necessary thing. For me, it's what prevents overflow or taking things out on others. It's absolutely crucial to my well-being, and therefore it's no longer something I'm trying to change. I can work on vulnerability, sure, but my strength and my ability to rebound will always largely come from within.
Speaking of, let me set the record straight about introversion. Introversion and extroversion are labels we use about how we fill our buckets--not our cups, mind you, but the place that holds our energy. Introverts spend energy on interactions with other people and gain energy from being alone--and vice versa for extroverts. Introverts can be outgoing, assertive, dynamic people. They just need to recharge in solitude. (This may be my favorite line on Wikipedia ever: Some popular writers have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. I might as well pop that on a nametag and wear it to brunch.)
Turns out child's pose is not so childish after all--in fact, it's the most mature thing that I do for myself on a regular basis. Huh. How about that.