The barrage of negative news headlines finally got to me last week. I thought I had been taking the current volatile environment of our country in stride by subscribing whole-heartedly to the often-repeated mantra of “Be the change you want to see in the world.” My weekly yoga classes have helped me stay tuned into this mantra. Between that one and my other favorite – “If you judge, there is no room to love” – I felt like I had been able to listen better and absorb all that is swirling around me.
So, feeling heart-broken and nervous, I arrived on my mat to tune into my breath, to try to stoke some energizing prana, to try clear my head and soothe my heart.
My practice started off strongly. My breath carried me through my sun salutations, flowing through several downward dogs and increasingly sweaty chaturangas. But then, my mind took the wheel and began racing. I started missing cues from the instructor. I had to look up and around to figure out which posture the rest of the class had moved on to. I scrambled to catch up.
And then, the instructor led us to vasisthasana (side plank), an asana I’ve done hundreds of times. I shifted my heels to the left, put all the weight into my left hand, pushing down and away, raised my right hand high to the sky. My feet were flexed, muscles pulled in to their bones.
I came right to my edge and fell straight off backwards. Down on my bottom, I plopped. The jolt of landing (loudly!) on the hard wooden floor jolted me back to the room. I dropped my head, chuckled to myself, and got back up into my side plank.
Back to fortifying myself with the only thing I can control in this spinning world – my breath. Back to the realization that no matter what is happening on or off my mat, I have the power within myself to meet adversity with kindness and to be the change I want to see in this world. I can get back up and try again and again – without judgment.
You can find Sharon Esker, Community Yoga Teacher every Tuesday at 2:30pm