The Yoga Project: Calming the Monkey Mind

I was going strong having done yoga for 13 days straight but I was going crazy.  I hadn’t been able to see my boyfriend or friends for more than a week (and I live alone – so when I say going crazy, I mean it literally – all work and no play make Jen Jen cray cray).  I was getting home at 10 each night and leaving by 7:30 a.m.  I felt exhausted.
It dawned on me that the point of yoga isn’t to drain your vitality but rather to replenish it.  In conclusion, I’m planning on doing yoga as much as I can without burning out or losing the point of this exercise which was to integrate more yoga in my life and develop a regular practice.  That being said, I’m planning on practicing at least five times a week or so.
Now that the technicalities are out of the way, let’s get to what it’s been like on the mat for the past couple of weeks.
I’m learning and relearning so many things like what it is to really breathe or how to sit up straight to remembering promises I made to myself as a child that are no longer useful to me.  Engaging in a yoga practice so aggressively (bet you never thought you’d hear yoga and aggressive in the same sentence, huh?) is no joke.  There are days where I just can’t get with it – the teacher says left and I go right, my downward dog looks like a pathetic panting puppy and I’m not feeling so zen towards my instructor.
Then there are other days where practice seems to flow so gracefully.  I do a pose I’ve never been able to do before.  My breathing stays consistent with my movement and shivasana (corpse pose) feels as though I’ve entered into a magical realm between dreamscapes and reality while conscious.
Last night, I would not allow myself to enjoy my yoga class for whatever reason.  I was having a really off night.  During these off nights I feel as though I learn the most about myself and my old thought processes and patterns.  For instance, you decide you’re good at hip openers but bad at core work so you avoid the core work and at some point you realize that you are deciding it all and not allowing yourself to be open to the experience.  Instead of opening up, you then become your mother’s voice in your head telling yourself that everything you do sucks and that of course you’ll never get into the poses that the tiny girls right next to you get into and of course you’ll never be strong enough to sink that knee fully into Warrior pose then you REMEMBER.  You remember that you’re in control, and that you love yourself and your body and are thankful it can take your knees halfway in warrior and that you can get into that one bind that you couldn’t do last week.
Yoga reminds me of Aztec danza – for every step to the right there is a step to the left and they call themselves warriors, not because they participate in bloodshed, but because they battle themselves in the danza.  I often feel as though I am battling my mind on the mat and I wonder: which half will win tonight?  The overly critical dark half that leaves me wounded and crying or the compassionate light half that allows me to feel the joy within my body and accepts me always as I am.
More to come on my yoga journey.

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  1. GuerreraBella - January 24, 2012

    I will breathe fire this year, 2012, the year of the dragon!

  2. mary - January 26, 2012

    It is the lucky Water Dragon as well, my water-bearer friend…. let it flow, let it flow….