I recently started practicing yoga. Holy Yoga to be specific. Its a combination of the practice of yoga with scripture and centering yourself on the Lord during your time on the mat. And I quickly realized something.
I am more out of shape than I thought I was.
You laugh. Its okay. You probably imagine me trying to do some handstand or something difficult and then wondering why I can’t do it. No, its even worse. It was the Gentle Flow, and I was nauseous only halfway through. Pretty sad, huh? I follow a bunch of lovely yoga ladies on Instagram who are very talented and can do all sorts of fun and challenging yoga poses. They have fun, colorful yoga wear and smiles on their pretty faces.
I thought surely I can do yoga. I’ve done it before and loved it, so this time around I’ll likely get right into the flow and not have a single issue! I got a pretty purple yoga mat, set up my water and Holy Yoga DVD, and got ready for a wonderfully refreshing session.
Except I wanted to die. Except that I felt like my muscles were going to explode. And I got frustrated. I got mad at myself. Why can’t I do this? I chase little people around all day and here I am sweating bullets and wanting to barf.
I felt like such a failure. I had high hopes and expectations on myself for what this would look like. I wanted to be more advanced than I was, and when I realized that I wasn’t so far along, I berated myself.
Its not just about where you want to be.
I tried again. And again. And still felt so out of shape. And I felt so bad about it. And if I can admit something ugly, I wanted to be cool. Trendy. I wanted to be all like just drank my almond milk latte and finished a 90 minute yoga session on my back porch with the sunshine pouring in. Complete with Instagram picture. It embarrasses me to even write that.
But then I noticed something the instructor said often. Honor where you are in your body. I came to a realization. It flowed through me and seeped into all the areas of life. I have to learn to honor myself and where I am at. I had to honor my body and abilities.
It wasn’t about settling with where I was at and being disappointed. It was about respecting myself, pushing when I could handle it, but honoring my body. Valuing it. Valuing myself. You see, its not always about pushing ahead. Getting to your goals and dreams. Sometimes its about doing the work here. Sitting in right now for a little bit. We’re all so ready to move past the pain of the moment. The stress of today. That instead of learning about yourself, your life, loves, passions, etc., we are pushing past a teaching moment. Stop trying to get to the next thing in life – whether that is older kids who don’t throw fits or wear diapers anymore [ahem…hand raised], finally working in a place you like to work rather than the place you’re working now, moving into the house you’ve always wanted, finally putting the energy and time into something you have always wanted to do…no.
There is always going to be something. So my kids aren’t little babies anymore and can play independently. I wished for that in moments where they screamed their heads off, and I wasn’t able to put them down for one second. And then they grew a little and now can do what I had wished for, but now I have new problems. When will my two year old stop being so stinking hard?? Get my point? There is always going to be something.
I learned that honoring who I am right now helps me to learn about myself and truly consider who I want to be. Instead of pressing past the struggle, if I rest into the struggle and I can allow it to strengthen my muscles, my heart, and helps me to [cliche as it sounds] love myself. We have so many critics, there will always be people who will criticize you. Don’t let yourself be that person. Don’t be the first to hate on yourself; be the first to honor and love yourself.
There will always be people further than you. Ones you…[gasp]…envy. You wish you could be like them. Have their opportunities. But what does that create? Self-loathing. Negative self-talk. You could be like her if you worked harder. Lots of moms love to play with their kids, who are you to say you’re too tired? If you were only a little more interesting, you might have more followers and comments.
I’m saying this as much to myself as I am to you — You are good. You are worthy. You are valuable. You have nothing to prove. Let yourself stretch and grow in each season and stop looking so far ahead that you’re missing what you could be learning now. I promise you, a garden grows with gentle love and patient care, not a hasty and violent hand.