I’ve been a yoga enjoyer for many years now. I went to my first yoga class with my best friend Caitlin when I was in high school. It was the most challenging and paradoxically also the most relaxing workout I’d ever had. Since then, I’ve gone through periods of dedicated yoga practice and periods of laziness (or traveling – that’s a valid excuse). But my love has remained constant.
In the wake of my wedding, I’ve done more baking and cooking than I’ve ever done in my life. I embraced the happy homemaker idea. Unfortunately, this cannot last forever because I can only take the stretching of my pants so long. In addition to giving up dessert for Lent, I’m trying to get back into working out regularly. I’m way too much of a California sun baby to run during a Northwest winter, so my preferred method is yoga.
I’m a couple weeks in and it’s been going well. I showed up to the class today and was surprised to find that I was the only student! I was worried at first – would it be awkward, just me and this teacher? But it went well. She was very friendly, and I got the benefit of personalized yoga instruction for the price of a regular class.
Of course, there was a down side: There’s no faking it when her attention is solely fixed on me! I wasn’t too worried, because I’ve done enough yoga that I’m pretty familiar with all of the poses. I still pause when instructors throw out some of those Indian words (“We’re going to supta-what?”), but for the most part I’ve got it down. Er…I thought.
One of the basic moves in yoga is called chaturanga. It’s a type of push up. Usually it’s performed in a series with other poses, so I’ve always sort of breezed through it without taking time to think about that pose alone. The teacher immediately noticed that something was off with my chaturangas. So we worked on just that one most basic of moves for a while. I had no idea it was so challenging! Plank, hands below your chest, squeeze your elbows in, lower yourself toward the ground slowly, and, without letting your stomach touch the floor, push yourself up again…
We practiced with a band and a block so I could feel exactly how my tight my elbows should be squeezed and the exact height I should be holding myself from the ground and the exact tightness there should be in my abs. I’m going to hurt tomorrow.
But I couldn’t help thinking that I was glad to be doing this, finally learning the right way to chaturanga. I remember when I was learning to play piano, my teacher would make me practice just the tiniest of parts – one measure or two – over and over again. She said, “It’s better to learn it right the first time than have to relearn it later.” Of course, she’s right.
Relearning is painful. Right now I’m starting a new life with my husband. I want to learn how to treat him right the first time so that I don’t have to relearn later. But even then, I know there will be certain things I do wrong. Already, I mess up. I get angry and I am ungracious. But I’m thankful for God’s patience with me and willingness to make sure I learn the right way to act. Andrew’s better at being gracious than I am. It’s a continual practice, always working to perfect every single act and movement. Just like yoga.
Not just in relationships, but in everything, I appreciate integrity. Staying true to the right way to do something. Even if it means going back to basics.