“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate. You must keep it pristine. Clean. So that nobody has a right to curse you or treat you badly. Because that may be the place you go to when you need God. You have to have a place where you say: ‘Stop it. Back up. No.’ Say no when it’s no. Because that’s the place you have to keep clean and clear.” – Maya Angelou.
Over and over again, I try to illustrate to my friends why yoga is the most important practice to have in terms of physical activity. And time and again, they do not get it. My journey with yoga started in 2016, and with my first session, I was hooked. I came out of that session with my Zen Self holding the reigns, a lot of perspective on life, and much joy and surprise at my ability.
Yoga taught me a lot of things. It taught me that flexed muscles are strong, and that practice makes better—not perfect, because perfect does not exist. It taught me that I will have good days where my alignment, strength and flexibility all congregate to help me sail smoothly through my practice, and that I will have other days where I struggle to balance in a basic tree pose. It taught to me accept wherever I am that day, and to adjust my expectations accordingly: if I am struggling, I do an easier pose, and if I’m sailing through, I adjust to a more challenging pose.
In short, yoga taught me to me patient with myself. I would always tell myself: I have two sacred mats. First, my prayer mat, which is dedicated for my relationship with God. I do not allow the world or anyone else to enter my space in that time. Second, my yoga mat, which is dedicated for my relationship with myself, so I strive to keep it pristine.
I have been struggling in being consistent with my yoga practice for the past year and a half. I possibly had a total of less than twenty practices throughout this period. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been getting reacquainted with my mat—and by extension, with myself. And after a long conversation with a friend a few days ago, I realize that I miss my mat and my practice, and my special relationship with myself that yoga brings about. I miss being patient with myself. It has been a struggle: trusting the process, not getting there as soon as I had expected, going through ups and downs… It is a lot of instability and uncertainty, and my patience ran out a couple of months ago.
Last week, my friend told me, “Trust the process”. Yes, I should trust the process of recovery; of putting in the effort day in and day out even if I do not reap the results immediately; of labouring to recover from one trauma, and then falling again with a new punch. At this point, this requires an abundance of energy which I sometimes feel like I do not have: energy to put into trusting and therefore sustaining the process that has let me down thus far. I would like to trust the process; to let it all go; to lower my expectations. When my anxiety gets exhausting, I would rather toss the Process away and just go to bed and sleep until its all over. And perhaps that is part of the process: not overwhelming myself; taking as many breaks as I need.
I have good days—or rather good hours—alhamdulila. My good hours were rather frequent in June compared to May. And during those hours I find hope visiting my doorstep. So, for July, I shall strive to carry on, to trust the process, and to practice yoga more frequently to fuel it all.
Send some prayers my way…
Photo: Yoga poses that never cease to reacquaint me with myself.