I have started taking some yoga classes.
I had tried yoga exactly two other times in my life and on both occasions, I declared that I was simply "not a yoga person." I was internally rolling my eyes at the spirituality, I was confused by the poses and the coordination they required and I felt like I was a square in a very round hole.
Through the years, I found other forms of physical activity that worked for me. Many of them offered a sense of mental release and relaxation but the focus was always on the physical: how many calories did I burn, how much did I sweat, was I seeing more definition in my abs?
Last week, I found myself back on a yoga mat for the first time in years.
I walked into the class full of apprehension and intimidation. I was nervous to try something new and I was still intimidated by the poses and coordination, but I was no longer rolling my internal eyes. You see, in the years since I last sought out yoga for its physical release, I have grown to realize the importance of its spiritual and emotional practice as well. I have opened up my mind to its mantras and its pace. I have found myself in a place in life where I am happy to fit into the round hole.
Little D has swimming on Mondays. She has progressed from the standard lessons to a group stroke clinic where she swims with a small group of her peers, an instructor helping them to perfect their movements, lap after lap, turn after turn. I watch her glide through the water effortlessly, week after week, Monday after Monday. Breathing in and out, kicking with strength and purpose, her strokes methodical and precise.
She loves to swim.
Two years ago, when I first brought her to the very same swim center, she looked at the pool and her eyes filled with fear. She kicked and screamed about getting in the water, an impatient instructor (who we never used again) staring into the distance and rolling her eyes at her trepidation. She looked at me for support, her wide little eyes silently begging me not to make her go. Screaming at me that she was scared. Pleading with me to let us turn around and walk out the door.
I made her do the lesson. And the one after that. And the one after that. And every week, she cried. Every week, her eyes were still filled with fear. Every week, she begged me not to make her go.
So shortly thereafter, we stopped lessons. We took a long break from swimming, playing contentedly on the steps in the shallow end at our community pool instead. We wore floaties and kept our head above water and learned slowly and patiently how to let go of that fear.
How to fit into that big, round hole...happily.
Today she loves to swim.
Today I practice yoga.
There is no more fear, no more intimidation, no more insecurity. All of that has been replaced with enthusiasm. Interest. A sense of accomplishment.
The poses didn't get easier and the water is still deep but what I have learned from both lessons is that timing is everything.
It took walking away. It took trying something else. It took standing on the sidelines until we were ready.
But when the time was right and we were both able to open up our minds and put our fears aside and see through our rolling and crying eyes more clearly...
We found that we fit into that round hole perfectly.
*originally published in August 2014