“You are the sky; everything else is just the weather.” This has been my mantra at yoga all week and I needed it. I feel like I’ve been slammed by a hurricane at work and a chest cold has surrounded me in a dense fog.
I read an article that crossed by my Facebook feed, about how the fitness industry doesn’t care about my search for inner peace. I bristled a bit. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga, and putting a lot of work into accepting that I am the sky. A part of me still feels a lot of disdain for yoga culture: the majority of hot yoga practitioners seem to be affluent white women who wear a lot of lululemon and extoll the virtues of drinking raw, vegan, green juice. But, they are just as deserving of self-care and compassion as anyone, including myself.
To be honest, I don’t think I’m looking for inner peace. The cast of characters in my head are far too chatty to ever be silenced. But I do need to work on my resilience. I am storm proofing for when the forecast of my life calls for rainy weather, beause there are weeks like this past week, where I need put in the extra effort to be present in my life: in my job, at the gym, in my diet and in all of my relationships, even when I feel overwhelmed and lonely and I just want to give up.
Despite the fact that my Instagram feed has tried very hard to convince me that I will only reach my goals if I think like a machine, and ignore all of my emotions, I am not a kettle. I am a human being. And I think that instead of ignoring the flood of my emotions, I will be much more successful in the longterm if I can notice and name my feelings, without feeling obligated to act (that’s another lesson from yoga).
Actually, I have been taking a lot out of my yoga practice to carry around with me. One of the most surprising things is how a regular practice has changed my perception of my body. I was shocked the first few times I visited the studio: the change rooms were just an assault of full-blown nudity. Everyone is so open about their nakedness and even the girls who looked tiny and toned when fully clothed have weird, lumpy bodies. And there are women of all shapes and sizes who seem to be comfortable performing down dog in nothing more than a sport bra and booty shorts, though I am still not quite one of them. But maybe my body is not as hopelessly unattractive as I’ve always believed.
A part of me is still feeling bummed out: my weight seems to be inching towards 72.0 kg and I’m stressed out about the fact that I probably won’t make weight for provincials at the rate I’m going. Meanwhile, my strength seems to have plummeted. And if I consider only those two pieces of evidence, then the current forecast of my meet prep would include thundershowers. But after 17 weeks of PNLE, I do think that my body is looking better. Maybe not quite the best it ever has, and there is still a lot of room for improvement, but I do feel like I’ve made some progress. A part of me remains firmly convinced that I’m only looking leaner these days because of improved posture, but even if that’s the case, then at least I’m walking around with better posture.
And after the huge fluctuation in my weight over the past year, I finally understand why people go through cutting and bulking cycles. It’s certainly not something I want to repeat. Mentally and physically I did not feel well, but now that I’m getting back down to what I consider my walking around weight, I’ve noticed that my waist is looking much smaller, in part because I’ve added size and proportionality to my upper body. And apparently other people agree, because I had an awkward conversation in the washroom at work this week where someone observed that I seem to have shrunk by half and then asked me if I was bulimic. I’m not sure there’s a weather analogy suitable to describe my reaction.