My Mom leaves town tomorrow. It was a short-ish visit, five days, but we made the most of it. Today, we went to a yoga class together. It was yin. Lots of holding poses for five minutes, but at the same time, you are mostly on the ground so no acrobatics necessary. (Good for me, ‘cause I’m nobody’s human pretzel.) Years ago, when I was in college, I took a yoga class and hated it. My Mom has spent much of the last decade urging me to go back to yoga. I’ve gone sporadically. But in the last two years, it’s really hit home for me.
I find myself in this funny position of behaving like a would be piano prodigy. Sometimes I’m all coulda, shoulda, wouldas. If I had stuck with yoga, I could be a super-bendy yoga babe by now. More seriously, if I had stuck with yoga, I could’ve spared myself a lot of pain and hurt. I could’ve used yoga to release some of the pain instead of channeling it into destructive relationships, perfectionism, self flagellation and self punishment. It’s silly to think my twenties and early thirties would’ve been better with more yoga. My path was my path and it led me to work I love, a great guy, wonderful friends and a kick ass baby ninja daughter. Despite the way I sometimes worship serious yogis, people who do yoga date the wrong people, get their hearts broken, go out on a limb and find the tree branch breaks under the weight of their untenable hopes and dreams. Yoga is not a bullet proof vest for life.
And the thing is, I have yoga now, when I need it for my work, my life as a new mother, my six year old marriage. My mother always said (and I know she didn’t invent this) that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Last year when I had the hardest scariest year of my life, I met the most amazing teacher. (Definition of my hard year: I almost died in my sixth month of pregnancy; because I was dying, they had to do a C-section with no anesthesia; my baby was born three months early and spent three months in the NICU; my brother was killed in a car accident and while the hospital stay for me and my baby topped a million dollars—thank God we had good, kind, generous insurance and then, while I still have nightmares of the C-section with a topical pain killer, the anesthesiologist who showed up after the baby was born, is the only doctor who keeps sending me a frigging bill.)
But to get back to the idea of students and teachers, I have this amazing yoga teacher who helped me through all this, doing research about what I’d been through, physically and emotionally, and developing a specific practice to help me heal all the places where I’d been broken. I still feel pretty broken some days, but I also feel that I am healing. I have yoga to thank for that. And maybe, just maybe, I have my Mom to thank for being the buzz in my ear that kept saying yoga would be good for me, even when I couldn’t hear it.