Monday, January 25, 2010

yoga, part 2

one thing you learn about yoga is that everybody farts.

it is, i suppose, altogether impossible to get into so many positions with your butt in the air and your head on the floor and not pass gas at least once or twice in your career.

everyone has a different M.O. with this, too. some people, nice, embarrassed people, will look around apologetically and offer a quiet "sorry" to their classmates. not infrequently, the smell will hit you before you even realize what happened and it's all you can do to stay in warrior 3 and not run out of the room, mouth covered. and all too often, you'll hear the telltale noise ('shooting a bunny,' my grandmother calls it) in the middle of the silence and dread the seconds it will take for the smell to waft over your way. everyone ignores the noise because we are, after all, adults; serious adults who don't find anything funny during yoga.

still - i'm ready for it to stop. or at least to buy a hell of a lot of febreze for the studio i go to. ewwwwlll.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

competitive yoga

Yoga is a funny thing.

I've been going to classes lately. You're supposed to do certain things in yoga; things like engage and pay attention to and enter into. Sometimes, you're even supposed to breathe for other people. But one thing you are never meant to do in yoga is compete.


See, the instructor is forever talking about how you do what only you can do, and how when you're supposed to be doing crow but all you can do is lie on the floor like mush pretending to do a child's pose, you should thank your body for what it can do - and let it not do what it can't do.

Maybe I picked the wrong sport, then. Because how does a woman who, at the age of twenty-four STILL cheats at Scrabble, enter into a room to work out with a bunch of strangers (okay, and my mom) and not compare or compete? I couldn't lose to the kids I was baby-sitting for in high school. What makes me think that I can lose now?

There is no losing in yoga, I can hear the instructor say. Well, that's fine for you because you can do the air splits. But whenever you preface a pose with "For a challenge," or, "If it is available to you," or (my favorite), "If you are really bendy," I AM GOING TO DO IT. Probably really poorly, and with a resultant knee injury that I will nobly hide, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to do what the fifty year-old man next to me or the weird looking redheaded girl (my new nemesis, by the way, since Vince quit Blockbuster, but that's another post) are doing with supreme ease and serenity. You don't just sit idly by in yoga. You win! And you, instructor, may pretend not to acknowledge that reality but everybody sees it. Everyone knows who the winner is when we walk out of class. It's usually the redheaded girl, but I hear that she's going back to fourth grade soon. That's when I'll have my chance.

I think I've finally found my people, though. The ones who are really out in the open about all this stuff. The picture at the top of this post? Sonja Wyche, from Washington, D.C., in a YOGA COMPETITION. It was started by a guru, so you know it's legit.

Because really, why do anything if you can't win?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

cling to the promise

there is nothing quite like hard times to make you live in the moment. the worries of the past are totally irrelevant, and the threat of the future doesn't matter at all because the only thing that you can see is right now. and that doesn't make hard times any easier, but it is a glorious and lovely part of pain.

i read this last night in bed and shared it with zack. it is from the inner voice of love by Henri Nouwen, which is a journal he kept when he went through "mentally and spiritually debilitating anguish" during his time at L'Arche. DAMN is he wise.

Cling to the Promise

Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected.
People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you
expect from people's response to your experience of abandonment, the more you
will feel exposed to ridicule.
You have to close yourself off to the outside world so that you can enter
your own heart and the heart of God through your pain. God
will send to you the people with whom you can share your anguish,
who can lead you closer to the true source of love.
God is faithful to God's promises. Before you die, you will find the acceptance
and love you crave. It will not come in the way you expect. It will not follow
your needs and wishes. But it will fill your heart and satisfy your deepest
desire. There is nothing to hold onto but this promise. Cling
to that naked promise in faith. Your faith will heal you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


sometimes, i fall into these times of feeling great sadness and grief without what i think is a good enough reason, or any reason at all. (i say 'fall into' because it feels involuntary. it is involuntary, really).

and, as might be clear to you, i am in one of those times right now. the sadness is vague but acute, somehow, and is present with me like a small bird that has gotten inside my head, or the cat that is crouching in the corner. i can't go anywhere without it, and my first instinct is to feel powerless over it all. well, that and to complain about everything and wish that things were different.

i talked to one of my friends about this last night, and she reminded me of a lot of the changes that have been going on in my life which, for someone who is practically allergic to change, can bring about a lot of weird emotions. she also talked about leaning into this sadness, feeling it, and living in it. rushing through it or ignoring it or covering it up, tempting as they may be, will never really be helpful responses.

sometimes, like now, this sadness creates an ache right next to my heart, straight under my throat. and usually what that means is that i don't want to grow up. i don't want these changes, i don't want these responsibilities, i don't want to create a new sense of home in a place that doesn't always feel like home. i don't really want God to do anything in me, because i just want to go backwards. and he's not in the business of moving people backwards, or tying them to the past, or preserving comfort above all else.

so, i'm sad.

and anna jordan, you don't have to respond to anything this time