I’m climbing back up from a week of illness; a flu that progressed to a chest infection.  It was a week of ‘Everything hurts. I don’t want to move.  Yoga...I can’t’.  It pains me, more than a fever, but I just couldn’t practice.  I remember back to when I was just starting yoga.  A great teacher, Georgia, explained to us that if you practice yoga every day you can achieve whatever you set your mind and heart to do.  I was inspired to achieve and I was determined to practice.  What Georgia had told me then was what I needed to hear to pull me out of the business world and back to the creative world and helping people.  Proving to myself I could show up every day and practice yoga gave me an internal strength that far exceeded my abs (which were also benefitting).   Georgia was right and I still believe in the power of practice to yield growth and change.  I also think Georgia said a lot of amazing things, but that one phrase stuck with me because it was what I needed to believe; that I could do anything.  I was in control.  That was back in 2002.  That was before Motherhood and that was also before I caught illnesses like the flu.

Here in 2012, one week without practice later and I am in tree pose (vrkshasana); at least for a moment.  Too much pressure pounding from my head and can’t quite shift the weight properly in my standing foot.  I just feel off, off balance, lacking coordination and connection to breath.  It’s subtle, but my muscles are weaker, too.  I think I’ll just sit down for a moment.  Practice has changed for me in the last oh (how old is my lil’ one?) in the past 16 months.  So the cosmos do not perceive me as ungrateful, I must put in print that I love my daughter dearly.  She is of my heart and she is literally my heart toddling around and exploring the world.  But do I miss having 90 mins to my yoga practice every day?  Yes, I do.  In words even, I heard myself blaming my daughter for the flu.  “Well, I haven’t slept properly for a long time with the baby and I’m breastfeeding so much.  My reserves are low.  Not to mention my practice is so short now.”  I am no longer fooling myself that I can control my environment.  However, I am now handing over control to my child.  What would Georgia say now?

A dear student and friend reminded me that ‘20 minutes of practice a day is better than nothing’.  That has been my mantra this week.  I cannot physically force the early morning wake-up calls required to get 60-90 mins in of practice.  I hope to return to it one day soon; when my body and life are ready.  For now I must embrace what is and even enjoy my new wobbly tree.  I am reminded of something I have said when students fall out of tree pose.  It is something many teachers have said before me, “Tree pose is a chance to be kind to you.  If you fall out, don’t beat yourself up.  Just try again when you’re ready.  And remember there is a lot to learn from falling”.  The more I practice yoga the more I am reminded that it’s about awareness and learning.  It’s not about perfection and performance.  Dedication is important and discipline is paramount.  Not if that means, however, ignoring your body and life’s reality. 

At 24 I needed to be challenged and directed. “Practice every day and you can accomplish whatever you want”.  Now, at nearly 35, this might be a time to maintain my physical practice and spend more time in quiet meditation.  The sound of breath...exactly what I need to hear.