Today was far more challenging, physically, than yesterday. Even before I hit the hot room, I knew it would be. In spite of everything feeling easy yesterday (aside from the emotional messes), the muscles in my back and legs told me otherwise this morning. It was harder to get out of bed than usual. But (for once) it didn't even cross my mind to skip today.
So at 8am, as my little buddy got wheeled into the operating room, I suited up and got in my car to drive across town to the yoga studio. By 8:40, I was on the mat, stretching, trying to meditate, but restless to get going. At 9, practice started. I'm sure that little buddy was already well into surgery by that point, but I don't have any updates yet, so I can't be sure.
Like I said, physically, today was a lot harder than yesterday. It's the first time I've done two days of practice in a row in a long time. But as tired as I was, as much as my muscles protested (in a good way—I've torn a muscle while running before, so I would be the first to back off if I thought it was getting to be too much), I kept going. And I did some of the best postures I've ever done. I finally got down into toe stand (on the right side, anyway) and my triangle (which is usually SO. HARD. for me) was so good that the instructor noticed and called it out... which, of course, prompted me to fall out of it, immediately!
My little buddy is losing a part of himself today... a small part, and a part that is not necessary, and could, in fact, impede his development. Once he heals, he will grow into the smart, strong, handsome person we all know he's going to be. It's a good metaphor for life, actually. We often need to lose a part of ourselves in order to grow. We know, usually long before we act, that we need to quit that job, or break up with that boyfriend, or cut ties with a friend who is holding us back or even hurting us... and yet it is hard to let it go. But once we do, we can truly grow into our fully realized selves.
Those of us who practice yoga, especially those of us who have done it for a long time, know that one of the not-so-little things that we have to lose when we walk into the studio is our egos. Our egos can boost us up... but they can also hold us back. That's why, when the instructor told me how good my triangle looked, I fell out. Sometimes I want to be noticed so bad, I want people to see how hard I'm working, but when she said "great triangle!" to me today, it was like it was a signal to my ego that I had succeeded and could then give up. But that's not how it works. Not in yoga or in life. When our bosses or teachers tell us "good job!", it doesn't mean that we can quit and never return. We can't even go home for the rest of the day! We have to keep working, even harder, towards the next goal. So even though today was hard, it doesn't mean that I can give up. Tomorrow I'll go back and work harder, just like I know that tomorrow my little friend will be working hard on his recovery.
The instructor also reminded us today of the story of Daniel, a bikram student who is also in a wheelchair. I'd seen his video before, and it is a very powerful reminder of how much we can do when we put our minds to it. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the video anywhere, but if anyone knows what I'm talking about, please link to it in the comments and I will edit the post to include it!