LEARNING TO BEND
Looking back, I can see that injuring my hip was a major turning point in my life. I was the most stubborn 20 year old in history, and I chose to ignore my pain. I developed a limp, but continued to serve beers, pizzas, and lasagnas five nights a week, hobbling around the restaurant, until one day I just sort of fell down on my way home from the bus stop. I endured weeks of my physical therapist watching me pedal a bicycle “Not too fast. Take it easy.” wishing I were outside on an actual bike, wind in my hair, even though I knew well enough that bumps of any kind, pebbles even, would send sharp, shooting pains up through my left side, deep into my hip.
As I began to heal, I took the advice of the athletes in my life and began to stretch. Because I was the most stubborn 20 year old in history, I began to stretch obsessively. As friends began to notice my obsession, I started hearing a phrase I would hear about a bazillion times before I would do anything about it: “You should try yoga.” I did not want to do yoga. I wanted to run. Fast. Outside. Alone. I did not want to roll around on the floor in spandex and then attempt to levitate with a bunch of people in a stuffy room in a smelly gym. I had a lot to learn.
Five years later, New York City had made me a little meaner, but it had also worn away some of my stubbornness. I finally decided to go to yoga. It had been quite the fad for a few years already, so I figured most of the hype would have worn off. (I’m still putting off reading the Harry Potter series because of my aversion to hype. I suppose I’ll read them in a year or two.) What I found was not a sweaty floor of spandex, not a group of people claiming to be enlightened. Instead, I was offered a way to strengthen my body and my mind, while at the same time listening to my body and loving my body, things which most sports practices do not make time for. I found a classroom in which there are no wrong answers, in which there is a different answer for every unique body, in which one can take time to breathe and grow. I had been the sort of runner who would run as fast, as hard, and as long as possible. I found a way to channel that energy into strength and patience instead of speed. I still have much to learn, but because of my yoga practice, I know that I am on a journey, and each step is significant.
I invite you to stop putting it off. Stop being so stubborn. Yoga is not a fad. It’s a challenge, it’s a meditation, it’s a workout, it’s therapy, it’s energy, it’s balance. It’s learning to find strength in surrender. Join Sarah Robinette, Thursday evening, August 18th at 7:30pm for Introduction to Yoga: A Workshop. It might just change your mind.