Accidental Surrender

Some healing choices are accidental. And lest you believe, dear readers, that rainbows, puppies, and butterflies spring from my mat during and after each class, I want to set the record straight.

Sometimes it just isn't as peaceful as it looks. 
In between space and openness and calm, there are periods of great frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

On Tuesday in Kristin's class at Seventh Heaven, I found myself in an all-out struggle with eagle warrior (In my defense, it was also a sequence that included fallen warrior in eagle - so it was a lot of that bird).

Sweat is cascading down my face, I can feel my face flushing with the heat and moisture that seems to be boiling me. I feel like my arms are going to twist off, taking my aching shoulders with them. I am tired and bordering on cranky.  I literally find myself questioning which arm IS my left arm, even though they are still adequately attached to my body. 

My shoulders are rebelling, tightening even further as I try to get deeper (pretty much the opposite of what should be happening). I turn on my active feet to see if I can get relief by grounding in my feet. I have hit a Forrest wall. I think the class next to me can hear my breathing which sounds more like I am in labor than doing a yoga pose. I am bargaining with myself about how long I will stay in the asana.

This is the actual internal conversation:

How long can we possibly do this? Have we done the other side yet - is this the end? (We had).

Maybe it will be just three more breaths. We can do that. Right? How many breaths did we do on the other side? (Pep Talk)

My arms hurt. They hurt.  How many times do I need to do this before it stops hurting?

Random thought interruption - because my brain has its own sense of humor: Can you imagine if I just opened this door? (my mat is always next to the back door - the first five seconds of cold air at the end of class when it opens is BLISS)

We can't open the door. FOCUS.

I mean, Abbie, how are we going to get good at this if you can't just wait it out for three breaths. (The Threat)

We already missed out on archer. We didn't get as far as last week (The Comparison).

I stop when I get to the point that I promise myself two breaths in child's pose if I make it through (The Bribe).

THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I say to my own monologue. Yes, I am talking to myself. I'll have to post my pigeon conversations as they are even more revealing.

I decide I can't take it anymore. I give in. I feel the rush of release as I wrap my arms around my shoulders as a down-level for eagle, almost moving into a sweaty hug. I suppose it was surrender, but it just felt grumpy.

Kristin's careful eyes catch my move from across the room and she congratulates me for making a healing choice.

Close your eyes - she says - be happy that you made that choice.

In that single moment, I know I have missed the whole point of the first 45 minutes of class. I close my eyes and wrap myself deeper into the hug position that I've taken.

Why is that choice always so difficult? Why don't I make the healing choice in the first place? Why is it always about pushing?

I give myself the gift of not thinking more about it until after class. I get in my car and blast some Kripalu songs to feel a little more at peace with my journey. And on the way home, I have an honest conversation with myself.

It wasn't about the eagle really. I was tired. My body was exhausted, sore, and a little annoyed with the amount of intense yoga that I had done over the past 10 days. 

By the time I pulled up to my apartment I had booked a little two-day vacation from my mat. It's day two and I'm feeling worlds better.

Sometimes the most healing choice is not to struggle. And sometimes that means doing nothing at all.

And that's okay. Surrender is still surrender - even if it happened by accident.