Compassion is something I struggle to visualize when I do yoga.  I hear it mentioned a lot.  I hear explanations of a “connecting” to the group.  Sometimes I just naturally feel like the room has a good vibe, then I don’t worry about connecting.  When I feel grumpy, then forget about connecting.  But when I feel neutral, I want to connect, but I can’t.  I struggle to feel the emotional bonds to my fellow yogis.  Their problems often don’t concern me, at times in conversation I come off as confused and detached at best, and cold at worst.  I can’t really fake having a good time, more often than not I am lukewarm about the situation.

But inside, I WANT to connect, it just isn’t there.  I recognize the value of compassion, and want it, but I just can’t force it.  I think this stems from a lack of compassion towards myself.  I get frustrated, I even get angry, these are uncomfortable feelings.  And so I would rather just remain in control and temper the whole thing.  But this has seemed to result in a lack of compassion towards myself, I don’t always take care of myself, or at times even want to.  As I stopped feeling compassion towards myself, I struggled to feel it towards others.  And as the compassion dimmed, I just became angry more often, like a fire wrapped in smoke, you can’t see any more.

I think it was this lack of compassion that caused me to put on the weight in the first place, and my relationships with the people I was close to suffered.

So now here it is years later, I am at a different place in my life.  Yoga has helped me to calm down and open up and occasionally even enjoy my own company.  It’s for this reason I love yoga, it helps me to take care of myself 🙂  And still sometimes I forget to be kind, even to myself.

I woke up this morning, shoulder was sore again, I slept in and skipped the gym (that is the plan for now while I am on the mend).  I went to work with the full intention of going to Yin again tonight.  I love Ichih’s classes 🙂

As the work day wore on, the soreness in my shoulder spread up to the back of my neck and the general framework where my neck meets my shoulders.  Staying hunched over a computer is not my ideal way to let my shoulders rest, but that is my job, so I deal with it.  By the end of the day, the soreness in my neck and shoulders have me complaining to my friends by email.

My friend the personal trainer reaches through the computer to smack me in the face.

“Just stop being so irresponsible with your well being and take care of the injuries you have instead of pursuing things like 30 day yoga challenges etc until you are healed and strong enough to do it.  Hot yoga 4 days in a row for any one is irresponsible, never mind doing it with a pre-existing concern.  Smarten up”

I think he might be a tad bit harsh with the view on doing hot yoga 4 days in a row (5, actually)… but the rest?  I started to wonder to myself, “am I not taking care of myself?  should I not go to yoga class tonight?  does this mean I fail the challenge?  I wanted to do 30 days of classes in a row, that was my goal, right?  well… megan hurt herself, so is it ok if I am hurt too?”

I thought about the point behind this “30 day challenge”.  Of course, I realize the explicit point wasn’t to do 30 days in the hot room, the point was to take care of yourself for 30 days.  That was the REAL purpose behind me cleaning up my diet, cutting out the junk, reading about chakras, etc.  Going to the hot room wasn’t the hard part right now, NOT going to the hot room was the hard part.  I needed to rest my shoulder, and the real struggle seemed to be going on in my own head.

I decided my yoga for tonight would be to come home and meditate, to practice stillness.

I came home, had a sip of water, vacated, laid down the trusty Manduka, got out of the work clothes/shackles (ugh, pants) set the timer on the phone, and laid down.  2 mins later I was fast asleep.  Woke up 12 or so min later, walked around a little, laid back down, focused on my breathing.  After a while breathing and thinking about breathing, I felt myself sink deep into myself.  With every breath I rose to the surface of the water, and with every exhale I sank deep beneath the surface.  My hands felt huge, like I was a small being inside a giant body.

As I sank down to the bottom of the pond in my mind, I began to think about compassion, and all the dozens of times I had thought about it during savasana, when I have talked to yoga teachers about it, when I have read about it,  I thought about my family, my friends, my loved ones.  I didn’t judge or feel anything, I just watched it like a movie, I felt too deep in the pond for my heart to beat a little faster in either anger or excitement, I just observed.

After a while, I didn’t know even how much time had passed any more, I didn’t want to come back up, but out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to check the time.  When I opened my eyes and got up, I realized I had not set the alarm properly.  19 minutes had passed instead of 10, it felt like an hour had passed.

I love a good meditation, but I don’t get them that deep very often.  It was… interesting.

no physical exercise today, I spent all my energy today trying to take care of myself, not challenge myself 🙂

see you tomorrow!