Portfolio: Hitting the Mat and Taking Control

You’d think that, because I intern for a yoga studio, I’d be at that yoga studio every day working hard to find my inner peace…

False.

As much as I love yoga and encourage others to take advantage of it, I hadn’t made an appearance in class since, well, last spring. “I’m too busy. I have this deadline. I just need to relax. I’ll go tomorrow. Not now. I wish I could, but I can’t.” Ummm wait? Isn’t this exactly the attitude I lash out against in Campus Monkey? Yes, I was being a hypocrite, and that had to change fast.

It was time to hit the mat again.

Today, I had some free time- granted, it was free time that I had planned on using to relax and catch up on homework, but it was still free time nonetheless. So I did what any non-hypocritical-yoga-studio-intern would do. I checked the schedule, grabbed my mat, and ran out the door in hopes of catching the next class across the street at Green Monkey’s South Miami Tree House.

Ten minutes and a brisk walk later, I was lying on the floor of Irene’s 5:15 p.m. Yoga Flow class with about fifteen other people (class was packed!); I hadn’t been in so long that it was all so familiar, but so foreign at the same time- like the first day of a new year at school. You think you know it all, but at the same time, you know you don’t. More so than ever, I knew I needed to really open up my mind during this class in order to make it worth it.

Let me tell you, it was worth it.

First of all, to anyone that thinks yoga is just fancy stretching: I was sweating. But actually sweating. That’s how intense this was. I could barely keep up, at first, but soon, I captured my flow again. I was bending, twisting, stretching beautifully; I was the master of inversions. I was a guru and a champion as my legs propelled over my head into a perfect plow, my back arched into a sturdy bridge, my shoulders supported a tall, strong shoulder stand.

But I couldn’t balance.

Balance, the core principle of yoga; I couldn’t do it. I wobbled. I shook. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t relax, even in the corpse pose, sleeping on my back. What was wrong with me? I used to be able to do all of this. Suddenly, it was gone, and that frustrated me more than you know.

But then I started to think about it, to really reflect, and I realized, yoga is not an isolated practice. It’s not a physical excursion that lasts for an hour and fifteen minutes, then simply ceases to exist. Yoga, on the contrary, is a constant. Its one with you and one with yourself. A practice, its triumphs and its flaws, runs parallel to a life.

I can’t sit still. I’m running around places constantly. I take little to no time to simply relax. I stretch myself thin, I twist things around, I bend my schedule. Physically, I’m fit and moving, but my body has become disconnected from my Self. I didn’t even realized it.

All it took, though, was the mat. One class, and already, I was that much more aware.

I’ve been trying to change a few things: on the walk home, I took my time, explored the neighborhood, let my feet carry me where-ever they might. I’ve been really focusing on my breath and doing my best to be fully alert in all areas on my body. And I’ve genuinely been trying to appreciate each moment, to fuse each second with an intention for living, and to, most importantly, be aware. No more doing eight million things at once for me. Tonight, my BlackBerry stayed in the room during dinner. I even made myself finish chewing before I left the table.

Life, I realized, is going to be what I make of it. Sometimes, it’s going to seem crazy, hectic, and out of control. Sometimes, I’m going to have responsibilities that I can’t get out of and assignments that must be done. Except, ultimately, it’s still MY life- I can and I should be in charge. But first, I need to seize control, seize control with the decisions I make.

Today, I decided to go to yoga class. Today, I seized control