Hot Yoga Session 15: Forgiveness

This post is part of my January 2012 30 Days of Hot Yoga series. This month I’m taking on a personal challenge to complete 30 sessions of hot yoga at Baptiste Studios in 30 days in celebration of my 30th birthday. Wish me luck!

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what is best for you. I was absolutely exhausted today. Every muscle, every ligament, every fiber in my body was sore when I woke up this morning. I felt achy, tired, and a little defeated. My brain wanted to get ready for yoga: it rationalized the benefits, projected images of the room, conjured the feeling of the mat against my toes, and reminded my body of times past when I was grateful for pushing myself to go.

But my body was adamant against any challenge today. And I responded, appropriately, with a backup plan. Take a later class, I said, or do a video at home. Maybe I just needed to get out of the heat. Maybe I just needed a slower paced class. Maybe I just need to rest for another hour.

Well, actually, no, Julie. What you need is real rest. Like the kind of rest that involves sitting around and doing nothing, taking afternoon naps, and reading on the couch. And I almost believed that. But sometimes it’s hard to accept what is best for you, especially when you can call it names: lazy, weak, quitter, and anything that comes after the word “can’t.”

The truth is, despite my body’s unwillingness to move, I went back and forth a dozen times on whether or not to go to yoga today. But as I clung to my yoga gear in a last minute push “to just do it,” I realized that the only reason I had to attend class today was not for my benefit, but to fulfill the commitment of 30 straight days. And when I distilled this commitment down to what I most hope to achieve during this time, forgiveness is among the most important. So I suppose that means that I do have to forgive my body for being exhausted and I have to forgive my mind for all of the choices that I made which lead up to my current physical state.

I like to relate the lessons that I learn through this experience back to my personal and professional life and this is among the most obvious ones. It is so easy to get wrapped up in results. When something doesn’t go as you expected, you can recount all of the choices you made which lead to the result. You can blame others for the circumstances that forced you to make a choice. You can spend a lot of time beating yourself up for things that didn’t go your way. Or, and this is the lesson, we could just forgive ourselves and consider that an opportunity rather than a failure.

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