I tried to Yoga

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I tried to yoga yesterday. I like to think it is cool to use yoga as a verb. Rather than go to or do, I just yoga. It would have been my first attempt at yoga since my son was born almost 7 months ago. While I was pregnant, I would get up every morning, roll out my mat and yoga. Then I gave birth and the best way to describe what I felt was that my pelvic floor and my core had completely disintegrated. There were no muscles to find or strengthen because they no longer existed. But I started to get back in to Zumba these last few weeks and all of the sudden some of those muscles reappeared and I decided it was time to jump back in. Or, I guess one doesn’t really “jump” back in to yoga. I was ready to chaturanga back in. 

My son, Reginald, fell asleep for a morning nap at 8:40. Class was at 10:00. I laid him down and took a deep breath, gulped a glass of water, popped my appetite suppressant and my allergy pill, downed a protein shake and painted on my yoga pants that are still fitting quite snug since I earned these child bearing hips, but I caught myself in the mirror as I walked by and I can honestly say I thought I looked good. So I told myself out loud “You look good yogi girl. You look good.” I’m practicing this new thing called liking myself. It is a work in progress but it defintiely involves believing what God says about me and to me and then saying those nice things to myself in the mirror even if I don’t always believe it. It is kind of a practice makes me believe the truth thing that I got going on right now. I sat down and waited for Reginald to wake up. It didn’t feel right waking him up to yoga and any parent of a 5-500 month old will tell you, you do not wake up your child for anything less than a fire. You let them nap it out and you enjoy the quiet knowing that your little or not so little one will wake up better off than when they went down. Some mornings he will sleep for 30 minutes and some mornings he won’t wake up until lunch. On this day, he woke up at 9:35 and I scurried around to get us out the door. I left him in his sleeper but changed his diaper, I packed way too much frozen breast milk just to be safe, and headed to the car. It was now 9:51. But I don’t live far from the gym so I figured, I’ll check him in to KidZone, and be on my mat by 10:05. 

I drove to the gym while Reginald chuckled at himself in the mirror facing his carseat and I sang some Sara B a capella and I thought to myself, “I am killing this mom thing right now.” I got stuck behind someone driving EXTRA slow and usually this would tick me off. Instead I took my best deep yoga breath, remembering a text from my friend Lyndsey just moments before when I shared with her that I was gonna yoga today, “You’ll be great, just stick with the breath.” she said and I chose kindness as my eyes darted back and forth from the clock in my car to the break lights in front of me. 

We made it to the gym, I scooped up Reggie, snagged my diaper bag and yoga mat and hustled my way in the door. Everyone always smiles when they see Reggie. It is hard not to, he is the epitome of a people person and he simply exudes joy wherever we go. He greeted all of the old ladies and the people at the front desk as I checked in. I chatted with the young girl in KidZone sharing that “He sits up fine on his own and is trying to crawl but still face plants every once in a while, he should be great but if you need anything I’ll be in yoga and please don’t hesitate to grab me if you’re concerned about something.” She smiled “He is just so cute, we will have a good time. Have fun in yoga. See you in an hour.” I glanced down at my watch as I filled in the [time in] slot to sign Reginald in, 10:03 it read and I reassured myself that people would probably still be setting up their mats so I wasn’t even really late. I walked passed the front desk as the kind elderly lady hollered “Have a great work out.” I waived and said “Thank you.” I was so excited to get my yoga on. I approached the door in the hallway and took a breath, “you can do this” I said on the exhale and reached for the handle. The door was locked…Hmmmm, I’ll try the other door on the front side of the studio. I was still a long way from the door as I read a big red stop sign that had been hung on it “STOP. Do not enter while class is in progress.” I didn’t even step any closer. I was so embarrassed. The INFJ, enneagram 8, love language of time mind of mine screamed inside “YOU ARE LATE! You missed your chance. They won’t let you in, they don’t want you to interrupt their class. Go away.” I turned around acting like the yoga mat I was carrying was not for the yoga class that was meeting and found a table around the corner to take a seat. The tears came immediately. I prayed “Lord, hide me. I don’t want to be seen. I feel foolish. Where can I go to be alone with you? Is there somewhere we can go?” He met me right where I was. I heard His gentle voice say “I see you. I’m here.” I heard myself say out loud “Why am I crying?” So I text Lyndsey and my husband, Andy, and I told them what happened and I said “Why am I crying?” I knew the answer. The answer to why I was crying is simple, Reginald was safe and being taken care of by someone that was not me and this work out class was MY time. A chance to be a woman exercising. Not a wife, not a mother. A woman choosing to do something that felt good and was good for me. I felt robbed. I tried to see in the windows of the class, it looked like people were still setting up their mats, why couldn’t I go in? I contemplated just walking in. But I am SO TYPE A. If I am anything I am a rule follower. I could not just walk in. 

I talked to Jesus some more “Help me sort out my feelings, Lord. I am taking this so hard and I cannot stop crying. I need you to help me.” “Wait it out and talk to the instructor when the class is over.” That is what I heard him say. At first I argued. But he gently reminded me that the day before this incident I watched Brené Brown’s Netflix special on vulnerability. I heard Jesus say those simple words again and this time I agreed and remembered Brene’s words about vulnerability and courage and the willingness to “be seen.” Not understood. Not taken care of. Just seen for who and what you are and taking a chance or a risk not sure of the outcome. I was particularly drawn to this quote of hers “Effort and taking a chance don’t always pay off. But I don’t see any payoff with out effort and taking a chance.” I text Lyndsey and Andy and said “I’m going to be brave. I’m going to be vulnerable. I’m going to share my frustration with the instructor when the class is over. If it isn’t met with kindness or concern then that is their problem.” So I sat and I cried for the rest of the time, text the entire scenario to my nephew who is 10 years younger than me and basically a younger brother and best friend who also encouraged me to be brave. Showing up, being seen, choosing courage and vulnerability – Okay Brené, I’m gonna try it. I watched the time tick by. 10:47. The class would be over in 3 minutes. I played out several different scenarios in my head of how the convo would go. I felt myself getting sick at the thought of him not caring about me or maybe scolding me for being late. In which case I practiced a VERY snarky response that would hopefully cut him down a peg and make him feel just as embarrassed as I did. Brené will tell you that the same spiral can really bring out the nasty in people and I have to admit that the shame that was brewing just under the surface of my decision to be vulnerable was a dangerous storm of emotion that could be harmful if unleashed. To my surprise, none of these scenarios that I had come up with were even close to true to how it actually went. Here is how it went down…

“Hi, are you, Michael?” He nodded. I continued “I am wanting to ask you a question about how much of a grace period there is if you’re late to class.” While sitting on the floor squeezing on his weird rubber sock like shoes that have a spot for each toe, (such a yogi thing to wear) he looked up and with a smirk said, “None,There is zero grace.” as he smirked to himself, “No, I’m kidding I just heard how much grace I didn’t catch that last part. What were you saying?” I swallowed hard and found the courage to keep going, “I got here and checked my son into KidZone at 10:03 and when I came to the door it was locked. Sorry, I’m really sorry I’m gonna cry, but I’ll just keep talking. When I walked around to the other door I was met with this big sign that said stop do not enter while class in progress. So I didn’t enter and I instead sat at the tables and cried for the last hour. This was my first time back to yoga since my son was born and I spent the entire class crying because I wasn’t allowed in. I wasn’t going to waste the punch on the card that I used for my son to be in childcare so I just sat for an hour alone. I couldn’t exercise because I came in sandals prepared for yoga. So I guess I just need to know if there’s any grace period at all. Because if there’s not I won’t leave my house if there is even the slightest chance that I’m going to be late. I desperately needed this yoga class today and I spent the entire time crying.”  He was very apologetic. He said “No no no no. That sign is not for you. To be honest, we put that sign on the door because all of the old people were using the classroom as a shortcut to the bathrooms instead of walking around. You’re a yoga person and you get it. If a class is interrupted it can throw the whole thing off. And they would walk in one door and it would slam and then they would walk out the other door and it would slam and then they would walk back through after they gad gone to the bathroom. If you’re here for the class come in as late as you want to. If you’re five minutes late or 30 minutes late. Just come in. It is different if you’re here to attend the class. I’m sorry that you didn’t come in because of the sign. It was actually kind of a desperate measure because we couldn’t get people to understand that they were interrupting the class.” 

I felt a load lift off of my shoulders, it was like the dark clouds parted and the sun was shining again. I said “Well that’s a relief and I wish I knew that sooner. I’m usually not late. But my son didn’t wake up until 9:35 and I did everything in my power to get here on time. I’m sorry I’m emotional, I just really look forward to this time exercising.“

He said “We have a little one at home so I understand. I teach Monday Wednesday Friday at 8 o’clock and Tuesday and Thursday at 10 o’clock. I hope to see you back in my class.”

I smiled and turned on my heel moving quickly to the exit. I still felt tears welling up inside of me like another wave of crying was about the burst out of my face. I popped in to the KidZone and Reginald was there to greet me with his gentle smile and as I put my arms around him and pressed his precious little body against mine I felt the tears start to push out of my eyes and on to my cheeks. I just let them come. I held him and he held me back, love and gratitude poured out of both of us in to the other. 

Here is the lesson I learned today: Brené and Jesus were freaking right. Welp there it is, the lesson learned. That’s a wrap. While I’m tempted to just leave it there and go to bed, I’ll say more. If I had just seen the sign, walked out, gotten Reginald and rushed to my car embarrassed I would have probably NEVER come back to yoga. I would have been stuck in the shame spiral for a long time and who knows what would have evolved from that. Nothing good that’s for sure. 

I actually learned a few things yesterday. 

#1. This time that I have carved out for myself at the gym for the last three weeks is a lot more important to me than I truly realized and it makes me a better human if I honor it. It is basically active rest. My brain is resting and my mom battery is recharging because I don’t have to pour a bottle or hold a baby or keep another human alive. I just have to follow the instructor and be present. I can’t look at my phone which is a huge win and my heart rate is HIGH which makes me feel alive. So I’m going to continue to fight for this time and prioritize it. 

#2. Jesus really cares about me. Those things that WE see as so stupid and so little and so ridiculous that we think nobody would care about – Jesus CARES about. He meant it when he said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30] He is so ready and willing to teach us if we ask. I’m going to keep asking, every day, for Him to help me sort it all out. I’m going to keep diving in for wisdom and believe that God will give it to me and teach me how to walk in wisdom with the big stuff and the little stuff because the Living Word tell us: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all with out reproach and it will be given him. [James 1:5] AND we can cling to the truth in the verse that we ALL KNOW because we have read it so many times: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. [1 Peter 5:7]

#3. I really love my son so much and his sweet presence after that whole ordeal was incredibly life giving to me. This little baby boy that can’t consciously give anything back to me poured such deep love in to me in that moment by simply being present with me.  I want to BE present for him the same way he is with me. He isn’t thinking about the schedule or the texts that need to be responded to or the hard level he is trying to beat in candy crush. He is just there, looking in to my eyes. I am filling his entire world in that moment and he is thrilled with me. And it is more than okay for me to take time away to recharge, especially if it is teaching me how to be present helps me to remember just how precious my time with him is when I get to hold him in my arms again.

Here is the actual text conversation with my darling husband. Can we take a moment and just recognize what a good husband Andy is?

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