Post by: Jane Banquer
There’s a big round numbered birthday on my calendar this month and along with the cake and family
hoopla come daily reminders that I do not carry around the same body as when I began my yoga
practice. That was decades ago, on the heels of the last serious modern dance classes for which I was
beginning to feel too old. In what moment am I then, when I settle onto my mat? Am I where my mind
and heart lead me or where my body more often contradicts? Who do I bring to my yoga practice and
where is it leading me? How do I reconcile uncomfortable changes that, unlike injuries, will not rest and
return me to where I was before? So, after I blow out those 70 candles, how do I anticipate and accept
my practice going forward?
I’ve become accustomed to being a robust flexible person and while stronger now throughout my whole
body, I’m increasingly less flexible. The stretches and postures that have always been challenging are
more so, as is balance. And, yes, sometimes I hurt both during practice and long afterward. Is this only
my physical state of being or is it also a metaphor for the person I am now, as contrasted to the one I’ve
been in the past? I like to think the accumulation of years and experience have imparted strength, but
over time have I become more rigid, less balanced, or am I mostly more prone to self-judgement?
It’s difficult to be non-judgmental, not to compare to fellow practitioners, not to look back or forward in
time, to be mindful but not overthink, to be my best but present self. What of that best self that
requires some oft neglected but essential facets of a whole practice both on and off the mat for my real
and metaphorical persona? Now more than ever, I am reminded that acceptance and gratitude are as
much a part of my practice as strength, flexibility and balance and that challenge and change are a
constant, in body and in metaphor, inwardly and for my place in community.