My Problem with Yoga

I just attempted to do yoga at home and stopped after five minutes. Sigh. 

It wasn't always this way; I used to do yoga at home four days a week one summer back in 2003 I think? 2004? I don't know. I went to Bryan Kest's studio in Santa Monica in September 2004 and can say with certainty it was one of my greatest memories ever. Transcendent comes to mind. Super meaningful in a spiritual way. Megan and I bonded over the Bryan Kest 123 DVDs in 2002. I used to light a million candles in my totally rad SF apartment and bliss out to Bryan's audio CD.

When I was pregnant with Lucia, I went to prenatal yoga a few times and felt like an alien being. As you know, that pregnancy was fraught with anxiety and self-judgement, and I kept looking around the room at these seemingly blissed-out pregnant women and thinking I DO NOT BELONG HERE. And What kind of mother feels ambivalent (at best?) about this whole pregnancy thing? Ugh. 

Since then I've maybe done yoga a handful of times. Despite loving it; despite the way it makes me feel after, I just can't seem to get through it. 

Today, as it's pouring rain and I felt good enough to do a little activity, I decided to give yoga a shot. I've been anxious and hormonal since Pete has been gone, increasingly so (thankful he comes home tonight), so I figured it would be nice to do. I went to put on the prenatal yoga DVD today and told myself to just take it one breath at a time. I lit a candle as a focal point; watching the flame always helps me when I'm distracted. I started it and couldn't even get through the intro. I actually said aloud: NO NO NO NO NO I AM NOT DOING THIS. 

I put on my Bryan Kest audio CD. The first pose? Lean forward and just hang. You can imagine the wonder that this did for my head cold. Sixty seconds later I was unable to breathe through my nose. Ninety seconds later I was in child's pose trying to tell myself it was OK, no judgement, to be where I am. Bryan -- probably the reason why I love his approach so much -- is all about letting go of judgement. I'm starting to realize this is my Achilles in so many more ways than one. The self-judgement. The unrealistic expectations. I came into it with unrealistic expectations today; I always expect to do the poses just like, if not better, than the women on the DVDs. I saw those pregnant ladies in unitards on the prenatal DVD and thought, where is their cellulite? Where is their weird freckling on their arms? How come their bellies look so unformly round, while mine isn't?

As my therapist says, I guess this is an edge for me. Not judging myself in yoga. Who says I have to do yoga anyway, I've asked myself. What I'm seeking with yoga is a peace and harmony. I may try meditating tonight to see if that helps get me closer to that place. And maybe I'll just let yoga go for now.