**warning: this is a yoga post 😉 **
I landed back in the the US of A three weeks ago today and I have quickly settled back into my routine, just like I hadn’t even been gone for the last five months. I am working back at my favorite little health food store and doing some catering on the side, I am so lucky to have reliable work that I actually enjoy. I am reconnecting with friends and family, getting back into an exercise routine and have transitioned back into my mostly veggie diet, for the most part I feel pretty good. My practice, ha, well that is a different story. For the most part I maintained a steady practice while abroad, or as much as I could with traveling and making sure I experienced as much of the European culture as possible. But wow, it was really, REALLY hard. Sometimes I would skip days at a time, maybe even go a week without getting on my mat, and I would feel this immense guilt. Especially when I would log onto facebook and see many of my yogi friends around the world post beutiful videos or be tagged in pics of their crazy deep backbends, incredibly strong handstands, and their delicious looking fresh green juices they were slurping on. (“Oh man I shouldn’t have eaten the ham and cheese baguette last night”, I would think.) I had come to the conclusion that I was inevitably digressing after I had put in so much work during my home practice on my mat for the past year and a half since I returned from Mysore. I had let my practice go by the wayside and let the Spanish culture of late nights, pounds of bread, and the many (insanely good) scoops of helado consume me. (pun kinda intended)
Now that I am back home and can return to normal living hours and accessibility to health foods, exercise classes, and mat time, things are somewhat better. My diet has cleaned up tremendously, I have joined a cycling studio that I really love, and though my practice is existent it surely isn’t what it was pre-Spain. Especially since I have been dealing with immense lower back pain, to the point that I can only do about half of the primary series. But this morning I had a much different perspective as I sat in lotus at the end of my short and sweet practice. What is progress? Is it always adding new postures in your practice? Binding your ankles, calves, or thighs in backends? Touching your toes in handstand? Or is it rolling out your mat in the morning despite the little voice telling you to go back to bed? Or is it rolling out your mat despite the events happening in your family, work, or social life? Or is it rolling out your mat despite the intense lower back pain your woke up with? Or is it just rolling out your mat each morning despite everything? I believe its both. Progress is getting up and doing something, digression is doing nothing. Whether it be just getting out of bed or just unrolling your mat just to sit and be. That’s doing something despite the shitty circumstances that life may be throwing your way, THAT is progress. Progress for me was getting on my mat this morning despite the frustration that I’ll have to put my work on karandavasana on hold and letting go of that frustration. Progress for me was realizing that maybe I wasn’t using my bandhas and core as much as a should have been the last year and half and my back is finally feeling its overcompensation. Progress for me was taking each posture slowly, being mindful of how my back felt and what muscles were working and what muscles should be working. Progress to me is letting go of the guilt of letting a few days slip from me and to allow myself to be 22 in Europe and to experience the culture. Progress for me is that despite how much I do on my mat, I still walk away feeling more confident in my own skin, with who I am, and what I can offer the world or leaves me thinking how I can be better to the world. Progress (and reassurance) to me is that the effect of this practice remains the same off the mat despite the quantity that happens on the mat. Quality over quantity.
I love facebook for the reasons that I can stay connected to my friends all over the world and also that I can be inspired by the very unique and dedicated lives they all live. And I appreciate what they share. I must continue to tell myself not to compare myself to others especially in the physical sense or judge others by what they share because truly only God, the universe, Shiva, whoever or whatever knows what is truly happening within them. And maybe these things they share are representative of their progress. (And these also are weak moments of my ego, frankly.) Practice makes progress.
All my love,