So thanks to my wonderful Manduka travel mat I went ahead and dis my practice at the airport, at 6:30am, while waiting for my flight. It was awe-some!
This post is about letting go of what I gave myself as a challenge. Someone said you are the worst enemy, the worst judge, the worst person to compete with, because there is a big chance you will never win. And it feels true right now.
I had gone 26 days of yoga challenge. I was exhausted, not only because of the yoga but because of the other things. And I was starting to feel my limit. But I carried on. I always do. I like to compare myself with a horse, although maybe not very flattering, but I think of a horse that you keep pushing to run, run, run, run, horses can run for hours, they don’t stop if you don’t let them, and then they collapse and die.
In my run, run, run for hours, days, weeks, months, I feel like I have no energy left inside me, only basic functions are covered in my body and I have eyebags the size of a swimming pool. Every morning I wake up more tired than the night before. But I kept the challenge. And the challenge didn’t make it worse, but my exhaustion came to take over everything else, and then yoga too. I am sure that with no challenge I would be as tired. The problem is that reaching a limit cannot be seen from the distance. You realise it when you have hit it. The day before yesterday I woke up feeling weird. A migraine was coming. And came. I continued work until I couldn’t type anymore, I took a nap and woke up later to hold a conf call. I went back to bed and slept until 11pm. I woke up startled: my yoga challenge. Stood up from my bed. Stopped half way through the hall, confused, in my underwear, my head was pounding. I could hear the electricity everywhere and I could only see the lights from the street. The city was calm and I slowly made my way, half asleep, onto my yoga mat, which hasn’t left the living room in a few days. I stood up in samastitihi, I was looking out the window and felt my legs were made of thin plastic film, I tried grounding myself and opening my eyes, which felt dry and stinging. All these signs didn’t put me off, I kept trying. In the dark, I raised my arms up, inhaled and then bent forward to uttanasana. I felt the air climbing up to my forehead, like a brain freeze when drinking milkshakes. Very slowly I went through my first vinyasa, only to collapse in child’s pose as soon as I realised there was no way I was going to hold down-dog. my head felt imploding, I laid there on my mat, my best friend over the last 3 months, I told him I was tired, I felt like crying, and I felt like I was falling asleep on my mat. And I knew it was time to let go.
It is funny how the first thing I thought was, what am I going to write about? how will I tell the story of a failed challenge, a challenge that I imposed on myself? How am I going to tell it, and keep being proud of myself? How am I going to forgive myself? And torn down every little piece of judgment? How will I wake up tomorrow, knowing I was only 4 days away, and I collapsed?
But letting go is the hardest thing to do when you don’t think of it as a destination. If we think of letting go, we think of how painful it is, how much we DO NOT WANT to let go, how we feel ashamed, or we feel like a loser, or we feel like a failure. Letting go isn’t about letting go itself, it’s about how free you are, AFTER letting go. Letting go is a journey that starts every single day. Where is it taking YOU?
I have failed the 30 day yoga challenge, and I am ok with it. It has made me stronger, I enjoyed every second of it, and it taught me to let go, again.
I feel like I am having a delayed burnout after the last weeks. If I need to give a recommendation to someone about a 30 day challenge, it would be: make sure you’re not doing it during a stressful period. When I started the challenge I didn’t realise how hard it would be, neither how rewarding, but right now I have gone 25 days with yoga, I am not feeling fantastic, and I can only think of one thing: sleep.
When I say I am not feeling fantastic it just means I am exhausted. Yoga makes it better but I am so run down that it is difficult to convince myself to continue. However I have 5 more days to go.
In the past days I haven’t been able to complete an MPS, my back and legs have been sore and tight, and by the time I make it to triknonasana I realise it is too much, so I start modifying and cut it short. Savasana is all I want.
By this time I might have already failed the challenge, I said 30 MPS, and I have not done an MPS every day, but that’s ok. Yoga every day is for me what counts, and yoga every day has kept me indeed busy with counting the days to my holiday in quite a positive way. Yoga every day is my answer, it’s like that little thing that you need every day to be ready for, a tiny thing that lifts you up, that’s yoga.
Yesterday and the day before I went out on my aunt’s deck and started practicing, under the (finally) warm evening sun and hit by the summer breeze. The dog came quite enthusiastically to keep me company, and she would lick my hands and feet while in down dog, then came behind me, stuck her head between my legs and looked at me like this is the funniest thing she’s ever done, wagging the tail, by the time I had to come forward she had gone under me and stayed there until one of my cousins had to drag her out of my way. I was quite amused as well.
I had to wake up earlier than usual today to leave the house by 7am to the airport. When I woke up I saw daylight, and being used to the darkness of Belgium I thought I had overslept and missed my flight. Jumped out of bed with a halt and got ready in just under an hour. Had an awful airport breakfast and spent the day in meetings.
When I came home I felt completely drained. I immediately got in my yoga outfit and set my mat for a practice.
Today is a breakthrough because:
-I am at 2/3 of the challenge and even though I’m as tired as I can be I don’t want to quit
-I did a hands-free shoulder stand and proved, like a fellow yogi said: it looks more difficult than it is
I reckon shoulder stand it’s not the nicest pose to be photographed in when my breasts are E or maybe even F cups. I will spare you. And you will have to take my word for that. And I know we don’t do yoga for how beautiful it makes us look. But still.
Today I had a harder than ever day. From the moment I woke up I have been hearing something, like the static in the air, what I can only try and describe as: electricity. I hear something, like electricity, every time I am near a plug, switch, or actually, any kind of appliance. It woke me up this morning and drove me crazy every second of this day. When I worked in front of my computer it was just killing me, and I can still hear it, it’s like it’s inside my head.
I am exhausted. And on my way back from work I entered the tunnels and felt like I was actually gonna fall asleep on that dark long and quiet piece of darkness. I passed by the supermarket, to stock on a few things and came home to make my own basil-nuts pesto. With the Greek olive oil my friend brought me from Greece. I ate and collapsed. I woke up 2 hours later with the sound of the (ever same) Indian song, from the restaurant below. Between that and the electricity sound I felt like I was going to go into drama mode. It was the first time since the beginning of the challenge that I actually gave a thought to the possibility of quitting. And I though: I will write a post that reads “the post about quitting a challenge”. But then I or up, I wore my must comfy ever pants, I got into a yoga top, laid my mat on the floor and did 5 Surya A and 5 B. I kept telling myself, something good always comes out of doing yoga. And I have never regretted practicing.
I am still hearing the electricity. And I don’t know what to do about it. If I could I would just drive to the middle of the woods and stay there, far from modems, plugs, loudspeakers and buzzes. If I could.
Tomorrow is another day, it will be day #20, which means I have one third to go.