Being sleep-deprived is never fun, and it can be a real drag if you have to go to yoga class after a work day. It’s been a week since I’ve last been to the studio, so tonight’s practice was challenging for me on many levels. I ended up losing my balance a few times, gasping for breath on several, which were all part of the fun, of course.
I found the Frog Pose (Mandukasana) particularly difficult. I’ve always had trouble with poses concerning the hips and this is the mother of all hip openers (at least to me)!
Yes, I was in pain. Yes, I was breathing through it. But I found myself doing something I’d normally not do when my thigh muscles feel like they’re being stretched like handmade noodles — smile. I was grinning instead of grimacing and did it more than once in this class where my body wasn’t cooperating. I smiled because I felt like giving up but didn’t. I also smiled when I felt like giving up and did, without embarrassment or judgment.
As I left the studio, I kept thinking about that impulse to smile through the pain. Is this now my body and mind’s default way of coping with stress? I figured, if this is the case, what a joy! It’s so much better than screaming myself hoarse, sulking or letting negative mental movies play in loops inside my head! I… can… just… smile.
The end of a relationship, loss of a job, death of a loved one — these are painful events that no one can imagine getting through. But you do get through them eventually (hard to believe but it’s true) and, in time, all you’re left with are good memories that make you smile, a lot of times unexpectedly, like in the quiet after the lunch hour or even a painful moment during yoga class.
I’ll know what to do the next time we’re asked to do the Locust Pose, my Waterloo. There will possibly be some grimacing, but not the entire time, I hope.