My life’s fairly routine. I know what activities energize me best, and since I’m a somewhat disciplined person, keeping up a schedule of healthy habits usually isn’t that difficult. But this past month I found myself in a sort of surreal state, where I needed and wanted to be somewhere else. This is not a complaint. In fact, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But the truth is that time away from something that I depend upon, yoga, provided an unexpected silver lining. Time off of my mat taught me a great deal.
The first and most obvious “aha” was that I’d been taking my yoga practice for granted. Blessed with several amazing teachers, I’d become “used to” their angelic voices, inspiring messages, and encouraging guidance. And this was not just to help me with the poses. Actually, that was secondary. The main impact was how their teachings motivated me when I was off the mat - in real life situations. So, this past week, instead of looking at the clock, I savored each moment in class, listening intently to what my instructor said. And I didn’t forget her words the moment I walked out the door. Instead I chose to hang onto these messages, replaying them in my head throughout the week.
My second realization was how much I’d missed the flow on and off of my mat. I was reminded of yoga’s beautiful effect on my body, softening the impact of running, sitting, and all of the daily assaults from just “living.” Not only does yoga help stretch my muscles and open my joints, but it also softens me, adding grace to both my movements and my spirit. This flexibility factor of yoga is just as important to my body as it is to my mind. No doubt yoga is a source of balance, and after several weeks away, I felt out of alignment, in need of my practice.
Yet the biggest lesson learned after almost a month without yoga is that we can always return - to whatever it is that we’ve abandoned. Whether we’ve ignored our diet, our exercise routine, our garden, our education, or even more important – a relationship – it’s never too late. Sure, it might feel a bit awkward in the beginning. We may even forget a few things. But with resolve and effort, we can reincorporate into our lives that thing that’s been missing.
Sometimes we cannot truly appreciate what is in front of us until it is no longer there. Maybe there’s something you’ve let go of that you now want back in your life. If so, make the commitment and welcome back the thing that you’ve discarded. But don’t just savor the reacquaintance, look for the lessons learned from its absence. Find the messages interwoven in the reunion. It is in these magical moments where we can see that we then begin to know.