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Up until a few days ago, it had been 32 days since I was last on my yoga mat.
I joined a local studio this past summer as a way to be with community after moving to a new city and being stuck in some version or another of lockdown for more than a year.
It was also a way to get me back into my body that didn’t require free weights or 200 squats a day or a constant ache in my knees.
And if I’m being honest with myself, it was mostly a way to force myself to leave the house. I’m an introverted homebody by nature, and there have been times when, save for walking my dog twice a day, I don’t leave the confines of my neighborhood for five…six…seven days.
Most of the time this isn’t something that bothers me. But I also know that it’s not particularly healthy.
Since the summer, I’d been attending classes regularly—two or three times per week. But as December creeped in, I found myself coming up with reasons (some valid, some just plain excuses) why I couldn’t get to class.
My work schedule was crazy.
There weren’t any classes open at the times I needed.
It was too damn cold.
And then the holidays hit and between work obligations and family plans and travel, coming home to my mat and my body and the only real solo time I give myself seemed to fall clear off my list of priorities.
As the new year hit, I didn’t even bother making myself a promise that I’d return to yoga. If anything, I sunk further into my hermit-like existence. Because now it really was way too damn cold and the yoga studio felt so far away and all my daylight hours were spent working and when the day was done, all I wanted to do was eat dinner, shower, and become one with my streaming services and my couch.
In my defense, I was still working out at home (thank you YouTube and Beachbody on Demand), but my motivation was about a million feet below sea level, and I was starting to worry that I had placed myself in Quarantine 4.0—or whatever we’re on now. I also started to feel some guilt creeping in. The guilt of not keeping up with something that I know makes me feel good, physically and mentally. The guilt of paying for something that I wasn’t using. The guilt of not taking time for myself, especially when I found myself regularly complaining about feeling overextended.
So finally, after a long inner monologue and some much-need, practical encouragement from my partner, I signed up for class on a Tuesday afternoon.
Walking into the studio, I felt myself get anxious. The class was filling up quickly and oh my god, why were there so many people here on a random Tuesday in January?! With too many thoughts floating around my head—none of them positive or productive—I found a spot in the back corner of the room and quickly stretched into savasana, wondering if anyone would notice if I spent the next 60 minutes there.
Eventually class started and I peeled myself off the mat into every asana the instructor walked us through. But I was still in my head—not my body.
I was thinking about all the things at work I needed to do that I couldn’t do because I had left early to be in this stiflingly hot room. I was thinking about the traffic I was going to run into on my drive home. I was thinking about how many hours there were until it was acceptable for me to crawl into bed. I was thinking about how each fiber of each muscle of my body ached because I was moving in ways I hadn’t moved in weeks. I was thinking about how long I had left before it was time for the instructor to place a cool, lavender towel at the back right corner of my mat and guide us back into savasana.
But then, while hanging upside down in downward dog, my thoughts running wild, I heard her say seven words that woke me up—seven words that brought me back home to myself:
“Love your shape. Love where you land.”
It was a call to grace. A call to the present moment.
It was a reminder that I am okay, that I am lovable, that I am exactly where I need to be, whether I’m bent in half on my mat or curled up in a ball on my couch.
That there will be times when I need to push myself, when I need to break out of a physical or mental rut and get my ass moving. That there will be times when movement and community and literally just leaving my house every few days are how I get out of my head and back into my body.
But there will also be times when the only things I need to feel at home in myself are blankets and fuzzy slippers and six hours of watching “The Morning Show” while I scroll on my phone or cuddle with my dog.
That I can love my shape, that I can love where I land—even when I don’t always like or understand it—as long as I’m giving myself what I need in each moment.
That I can be at home with myself, wherever I am.