I started this blog last year with the intention of sharing ideas, strategies and questions about the yogic path. And then, lo and behold, my own path veered in an unexpected direction. At the time I was in the middle of some serious change and conflict, with a relationship ending, chronic anxiety (which I partially attribute to the feeling of being trapped in a long doctoral degree), and probable financial instability on the horizon.
I’d prefer not to go on at length about my personal struggles at that time, but suffice it to say that my amazing support network (my incredible parents, sisters, and friends) all generously helped (and, by that I mean, lovingly hoisted and dragged) me through. By April I had accepted a communications job in Toronto, packed up my apartment, and moved to a brand new city. Within a few more months I successfully defended my PhD in English and started getting acquainted with life outside of the ivory tower.
And that’s where I am today, looking out on a bright, beautiful, sparkly new year. The big thing though — the really big thing — that I left out of my story is the YOGA part. How my relationship to yoga has changed drastically over the past year or so; how I desperately want to change that; and how I think that it is also, at the same time, all okay.
Often when our day-to-day routines change, certain things fall through the cracks. Particularly when that change involves longer working hours, new responsibilities and expectations, and even a new living environment. While I stuck to my physical practice — one of the really stable things that had helped me through personal crisis — this ever-so-gradually began to shift. My several-times-weekly one-hour playtime on the mat became one or two half-hour sessions per week. I brought a mat to work, but that kind of just sat in the corner. Taking breaks other than to deal with immediate bodily needs seemed, most weeks, to be out of the question. (Cue keener, workaholic tendencies. Bad, bad, bad.)
That quiet internal struggle between that which is good for me (that I resist) and that which increases my stress (which I willingly accept more of(!)) seemed to be, and still is, at play in my life.
At the same time, that less tangible, more subtle yoga practice — the one that takes place in the mind and the heart and the energetic layers of the body — seemed to be shifting too. In my daily life, I know that I have been choosing paths of love, acceptance, and non-judgment more than ever before. However, I also know that living in a big city, commuting on public transit, and working a 9-5 office job are all presenting HUGE new challenges. As anyone who has made such a life change will comprehend, dwelling in a big urban city presents a very different way of life that calls for new strategies and experiments in living yogically.
And there we have it: a revitalized purpose for my dusty, unvisited little blog.
My new vision for this space is not unlike the old one: to share my own exercises and strategies for a kind of “everyday yoga” that is about approaching more situations with love, lightness and integrity. But it will also be a space to try some new projects, the first of which I will announce as the:
Making friends with public transit project.
By this I do not mean that I intend to make more friends during my daily subway commute, although that would be a cool side effect! My goal is to spend less energy feeling stressed, angry and tired on public transit, and more time feeling more positive feelings. Those feelings, I suppose, are yet to be known. But the goal is to commute with a loving heart. Not to get attached to situations, but also not to check out entirely.
Like the wee tortoise, it will be a slow and meandering journey. The past year has certainly proven the theme of tortoise yoga and I expect the time ahead to be no different.
What a confusing and beautiful universe we live in.