I woke up and I knew what time it was. It was too late. It was already light outside, that's how I knew. I grabbed my phone which said 7.20 AM. The alarm was buzzing since 5.30 AM, but so very soft, that I had not heard it and slept through it. I blamed myself for not testing the sound of the alarm before going to sleep. I felt guilty. I felt like shit.
I had convinced my BF I absolutely wanted to go back home from our Belgium vacation a day early, so I could pick up my Ashtanga practice on Friday. I had told him I felt homesick, that I missed the shala, that I definitely wanted to return home sooner. My BF agreed, he saw me a bit miserable and he said he wanted to see me happy so we drove home on Thursday. When we got home, I did the laundry and had my yoga clothes and mat ready for Friday morning. But I overslept. Why? I felt like I failed.
I looked at the schedule of the yoga studio and saw a Jivamukti Class at 9 AM. I felt I had to do some yoga and I felt if I was going to practice Ashtanga by myself at home, I would only felt more miserable, so I decided to go to the Jivamukti Class. It was a total surprise.
The Class was taught by a male teacher and there were at least twenty students. He began by chanting and playing the harmonium. It felt peaceful and sweet, I immediately felt my body relax. He did a small lecture, he talked about the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. He let us rephrase the first Sutra: Atha-Yoga-Nusasanam and asked us what the word Yoga means. Connection, I thought. Someone said: Being close to yourself.
The teacher said:
'At some point, you started doing yoga. Go back to this moment, to the moment you decided you wanted to practice yoga. You were fed up with something, you needed a change. So you went to a class and it felt nice. You started to go regularly, you changed some things in your life.'
We practiced some asanas. They were intense and at some point we were doing a sort of handstand. I had never practiced handstand before. I was breathing and sweating and heaving a somewhat hard time but loving it at the same time. After savasana, he guided us through a short meditation, and again spoke the words Atha-Yoga-Nusasanam.
I got back to the feeling I had when I knew I wanted to start yoga. It was because I needed softness. I was going through a hard and stressful time and I didn't feel well. It is true what the teacher said: I too was fed up with something. With the stress level in my life, with the amount of work, with the rules I had given myself.
Through yoga I realized how harsh and strict and disciplined I was in my life. In my job, to myself, to my body. Yoga showed me how to relax, it showed me compassion and a way to be more soft on myself.
I realized I still am (too) strict and harsh. Now even regarding my yoga practice. If I don't practice for a week, I feel stressed and guilty and worried. I realized that only me, myself and I is doing this to myself, nobody else. I am the one who wanted to return home early from a holiday to practice yoga. I am the one who must practice 5-6 times a week. I am the one to have yoga on my mind all day, every day. I embrace the softness this Jivamukti practice has shown me and I am going to try to take it with me this day and the rest of the weekend.