Generally speaking, Monday morning is not the strongest practice of my week. Occasionally I spring out of bed on Mondays, energetic and ready to face the day. But more often than not, I pull the covers over my head, hit that snooze button “just one more time” and hide from all that lies ahead once my feet hit the floor. Today was definitely one of those days when I felt the weight of the world on my back. The holiday season is in full swing at this point, and albeit fun and joyful, I’m admittedly exhausted already from our many festivities. Additionally, with three kids in the house, there is a palpable increase in energy. Expectation and anticipation, the excitement of this most special time of year, permeate our home. It is a gift to witness the holidays through the eyes of children…however it has not been without some trepidation. My expectation and anticipation to meet their needs and wants, to make their holidays memorable, and all that fills the “to-do” lists in order to accomplish that task can cause a good deal of stress.
So go to yoga, right? Thankfully my practice is so ingrained in my routine, so much a part of who I am, that it doesn’t suffer just because life off the mat gets busier. But as I opened, not every day–certainly not every Monday–finds me at my strongest. As yogis we seek to eliminate expectation and anticipation from the yoga practice and rather immerse ourselves in the present moment. After all, it’s all we really have. It can be a constant battle however, especially when I wake up feeling tired, my body fatigued from the rigor of my physical practice, my mind preoccupied with all of my many responsibilities and obligations.
While there was no question I would go, I still felt I had to drag myself to class this morning. I felt slow, achey and distracted. I thought of something that my friend and fellow teacher Stacey Kasselman said during class last week, “Meet yourself on your mat and let the practice come to you.” If I was asked to predict, I might have said it would not be a strong practice for me, but something entirely different happened. The moment I thought of Stacey’s words I let go of any expectation for the next 90 minutes. I didn’t anticipate when class would be over or even which pose was up next. I let the practice come and had the most pleasant surprise in one of my stronger classes of late. It reminds me of another saying from another friend and fellow teacher, Cara Yakey, “you’re stronger than you think.” Maybe the weight on my back is a blessing, not a burden. A strong practice when I am not necessarily “feeling it,” drives that point home.
The art of letting go is a consistent theme in my yoga world, and I am always grateful for hearing it in new ways. As I watch my children in their eager, expectant, anticipatory states this month, I will hope that they are met with some merry surprises. As for me, I will hold tight to my discovery of how abandoning these very same emotions led to my own rewarding surprise.