The following is an unedited note from a student.
I've missed seeing you for the past month. It's been almost a year, I think, since I started doing yoga with Kula and I've been reflecting on my practice and the vicissitudes of my relationship to yoga over this short time. I have some confessions, some of which I have previously hinted at.
Sometimes I am secretly annoyed at the feel-good talk. Sometimes I don't feel much better after my practice. I can never feel the "space" I've suddenly created while getting into a pose, not once. Trying to focus on my breath makes me nervous. Throughout class I am still trying to solve my life in my head which, though it never works, I do constantly and involuntarily. In my morning practice that I do at home, I am not focused on the pose I am on but thinking of the next one and the next one and so on until savasana and what am I doing after this?
When you fully explicate a pose, and all the body parts involved, I can't follow the whole thing and feel no capacity to consciously control or even perceive some parts of my body. Sometimes I think I just started off in life too far away from my body, too far away from the moment, to ever get there (here). Maybe, just maybe, I'll never get here, or never fully realize that here is where I am. Maybe it's enough to show up to class, to have a healthy way to round out my day that doesn't involve sitting at home and drinking too much wine. Maybe if I keep practicing, my focus will improve just a little bit, maybe I will be able to sit still a little more peacefully, breathe a little easier, and maybe that little bit is all I need. I don't know.
In spite of myself, I am thankful for my practice and very thankful to Kula.
Thank you and much love,
And my response:
I wonder what these confessions would have been before you began your practice or what they will be a year from now. I know that these feelings are real, and you probably feel like you've been struggling with them your whole life. It's hard to see past our current situation.
Everyone- even cotton-candy-cloud, unicorn-riding yoga teachers- feels like this sometimes. Everyone feels they have not attained equilibrium in some respect or another. Everyone is reaching for something.
But your life is what is. What you're looking for exists inside you. The intention is there, and the action is there. Now relax. Each time your head returns to this pattern, take a deep breath.
If you weren't benefiting in some subconscious way from this practice, you wouldn't keep coming back, and you definitely wouldn't be practicing at home. Know that you are absorbing benefits that you just are not aware of right now, and over time they will add up to something tangible.
May I remind you, the first rule is to be kind (to yourself). (Thank you, Moira.) Have compassion for yourself above all. Give yourself permission to feel the way you feel without berating yourself. This is just where you are now.
Let your yoga be love. Not the mushy feeling that is so fickle, but the action of wishing well and doing well for yourself and others. Start small with small thoughts and small actions and let them trickle up. If you feel you run out, come to class to refill. Let others give love to you.
I look forward to witnessing more of this journey.
Namaste- The love in me sees love in you.
Please continue this conversation in the comments. Anyone can reply to me or my anonymous student.