I practice yoga. Emphasis on the word “practice.” That’s the beauty of it. I return to it almost every day, it’s something I’m learning, and I’m getting a little better, a little more flexible, and a lot stronger every day that I return to the practice.
(Sidenote: If you’re offended by the fact that I do yoga, if you can only see it as a Buddhist path to enlightenment and not a way of breathing, exercising, stretching and bending my body in healthy ways God made it to do, then please leave me be on this one. Spare me your love letters.)
I practice in my living room each morning as the sun shines across the hardwood floors. Sometimes I listen to an audible book, a podcast, an interview with an author, or a recorded sermon. Anything that’s intentional and not chatty. (I can’t do chatty. Can’t.)
I really love doing it. And I was planning to do it this morning.
But then I woke up with a splitting headache. And I contend there are few worse ways to start the day… though a Nerf gun to my face was a close second that one time.
The whole headache thing is my own fault, since I have this very simple but needy bedtime-hair routine called “plopping.” It’s a curly girl’s dream. But it involves wrapping my head in a t-shirt for the whole night through. (Peter says he married Trish, but he sleeps with Aunt Jemima.) Sometimes I tie it too tight and thereupon do this to myself.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, I really wanted to do yoga this morning. Sunshine, wood floors, folding and stretching, starting the day. But my head. My. Head.
And that’s when I remembered the words of some of my favorite yoga instructors:
“Love is the practice of honoring where you are today.
Just notice where you are, and go from there.”
So I abandoned the pigeon and the rabbit and the fish and the lizard and the eagle and the downward dog. Because the last thing my head wanted me to do was to balance on one leg or send all the blood rushing to where it hurt the most already.
So I lay in corpse pose. Which sounds awful, unless you think about the fact that yoga practice says the corpse pose represents letting go of what needs to die, and resting before you get up and do what is life-giving.
I lay on the hardwood floor in the sunshine, and I practiced love by that definition: honoring where I am today. And I simply waited for the headache to go away.
(With the help of peppermint oil and Excedrin migraine. Because let’s be real.)
Sometimes it’s the best way to love yourself.
Set aside the plan for what you thought you could get done today. Honor where you are. And move forward from there.