My hot Vinyasa yoga teacher read a gorgeous piece at the end of class. I should have asked who wrote it because I cannot seem to find it. I will ask next week. The sentence “Turn your face to the sun” repeats several times. It was a charge to be more grateful, acknowledge all of the smiling eyes and prayers made on your behalf no matter the trial.
I needed the encouragement. Though it wouldn’t usually bother me, I felt a sense of shame not being able to get into many of the poses. I felt exposed, as if I was a fraud. The insecurity of having “too much” body. Believe me, I know better but the feeling arose a few more times even after telling myself to shake it off and that those thoughts do not get to make a home here.
This is my quiet time. My prayer time. My stretch time. My solo practice in the midst of all of these sweaty, bendy bodies. Even though I was never completely settled, the piece spoke to my insecurities and reminded me of why I intend to keep coming.
Why I intend to keep coming after all of it –the last 5 days of 75 hard, the last week of bloglikecrazy, teaching, writing and training for Spartan.
Went to yoga today. Hot Vinyasa yoga. I worked to quiet my mind and devote this practice to myself. I prayed in my time. I thought about how loud and angry someone on our hotel floor was around 2:30am. I thought about the walk Hubby and I took straight from the highway to the track. I asked my body for forgiveness for not moving it consistently for so long. I asked my body for forgiveness for almost never stretching it. As I eased my feet up the wall of the studio, I became aware of the inflexibility of my body and hoped after many months, the rigidity will be a distant memory.
As our guide (as she liked to be called) sprayed lavender water at our feet, my nostrils and my brain wakened, appreciative of the freshness and cleansing properties of the aroma.
She also shared a closing story with us to center our hearts and minds on gratitude. A story about a whale, freed from nets and traps by divers.
I held back tears.
Not sure why. But by the end of class, I knew I would be back.
I think it’s fitting that today is the start of a new year because I devote Tuesdays to all aspects of health. Although I decided to ramp up my efforts at the end of November, like most people the holidays got to me and it is definitely time to recommit. I didn’t stop moving but the raw foods did take a backseat for a couple of weeks.
I began looking for a reset. A lot of people fast, diet and make all sorts of resolutions and promises on New Year’s Day. All I want to do is commit to more raw food. I can’t forget (nor do I want to forget) the way I felt throughout July when I was raw vegan for 30 days. It wasn’t just the increased energy. Anxiety and fatigue seemed like states of being that could never be attributed to me.
So my reset is to cling to what I know: walking, being a high raw vegan embracing juices and smoothies, yoga, dance classes, massages, prayer, therapy and letting go of fears and mindsets that no longer serve me.
Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about what I need to do to feel better, to be a better writer, wife and self-care practitioner. I have gotten massages, journaled, spent less time on the phone, gone to church, a yoga class, went to an awesome lecture about laughter yoga, prayed, walked many miles, spoke to a counselor, stepped back on the scale without fear, showed up to doctor’s appointments and lunch with a friend, reached out to friends, listened to inspiring podcasts and powerhouse sermons and even started to accept the reality that it may take all of that to feel completely like myself or who I am growing to be.
Something else was brought to my attention. While I am doing all of these things to reclaim Kristina, I might also need to let up on pressuring myself to do everything right now, as if I am trying to hurry up and solve “anxiety.”
I speak and write and try with varying success to think positively but I also have to do all of that with more patience. There is no snap of the fingers when it comes to “process.” There is forwards and backwards, trial and error and an understanding that it never really ends.
So here I am. Embracing process, trying not to be in a hurry and forgiving myself for the times I have and inevitably will, not treat myself with Grace and Love.
This last weekend, I took time to take care of me. My body told me before I did which is something I do not care to repeat. When I had a bout with panic attacks last spring, I thought I had it all figured out. To some degree, my self-care did get better with the reintroduction of more raw foods, etc. but I let my stress with Hubby’s newer health challenges completely rock my foundation a few months ago. Anything besides going to work, preparing for and being in Alabama at the workshop and going to doctor appointments felt like above and beyond what I could handle.
But I was wrong. I had a moment when panic set in and woke me right out of my sleep. The thing is I told myself that I would be fine and it would pass. I was right. It did. I told myself everything I should to calm myself down. I prayed for peace. But I also realized, at 2:00am that if I am not doing anything but telling myself the right things, it will never be enough and I could only look forward to more sleep-interrupted nights.
At that very moment, I decided to implement change. I knew when the weekend hit, I wouldn’t compromise myself any longer. I made a therapy appointment, got a massage on Saturday, went to church Sunday morning and Body Positive Yoga class for women on Sunday afternoon. I am going back next weekend, too.
My body screamed at me and the only way to roar back is take care of myself before I stopped showing up for my husband and my own pursuits.
I was wrestling with the idea of incorporating a lot more raw meals at the new year. On Saturday night, I asked myself why I was waiting. So I began Sunday.
There were a couple of surprises. I had a little emotional release during my massage and although yoga was incredible, I felt a bit of panic I prayed through. These surprises showed me how deep seated the need for self-care is and how I’ve been neglecting it.
As I am writing this, I honestly don’t feel 100% like me but I feel closer. And maybe the “me” I don’t feel right now is not what I will end up being anyway. Maybe these challenges and me addressing them head-on are supposed to birth something new.
I not only like the sound of that, I need the sound of that.
I don’t have much in me today. I am not sure if it’s because I am 26 days in and it feels a little like I have senioritis.
But there are 4 days left after today so something will be written each day until I have accomplished my goal. So here it goes:
In my post about being whole, I wrote about wanting to start a yoga or Pilates class in the new year. I was talking to a co-worker (and devoted Yogi) about self-care and all of a sudden, I couldn’t come up with a reason to wait. She told me about a studio close by. I found a class on the their site that embraces women of all shapes, sizes and levels. My first class starts Sunday. I haven’t been this excited in so long. When I read the description, it clicked and even if it doesn’t live up to my expectation, I will know I took steps.
I didn’t wait for my healing to begin.
Outside of the morning routine habit changes I’ve made, I can finally say that working out has become a new real change for me. Even though I have generally rejected resistance training in the past unless with a trainer, Hubby has gotten me to embrace it, 2-3 times a week. In the past at one time or another, I have been a running, walking, belly dancing, Zumba and Afro-Caribbean dancing, Bikram yoga attending, water aerobics taking, treadmill/elliptical machine addicted exercise person. I am still some of those things depending on which day or month you are talking to me. As more weight comes off (.6 lbs this week even in the midst of water retention!), I am anticipating what I will open myself up to next or be more willing to go back to again.
As I my weight crept up before starting my wellness journey again, it was becoming easier to retreat from high intensity activity and that can manifest as isolation. At least it did for me. Choosing to consciously take better care of myself taught me how to see when I was going down that road. Choosing to be alone is great when it’s truly a choice rather than avoidance. I have always enjoyed my life but it takes more effort and clarity to see how much I enjoy it in the company of people outside of my home and in new environments. It can be hard at first but 9 times out of 10, it’s worth it.
Every step I take towards wellness, towards the power of being complete and whole, is worth it.