My newest adventure is paddleboarding. I am hooked on yoga, practiced on a board! Yoga has always been an exercise of choice and I prided myself on my flexibility. I can “pretzel” with the best of them, ignoring balance and strength to hear the ohhs and awws of my muscles as they stretch. Yoga on the board has caused me to face my prideful reliance on flexibility. Strength and balance must be used!
The first class I took, had me shaking in modified warrior pose on my knees (this is my strongest pose on land) and my mind was chattering away, telling me negative things about my body. That was in August. Now I can do a standing Warrior and am working on a headstand. I understand the practice of patience, readily apply it towards others, yet am reluctant to focus the gentle acceptance, forgiveness and kindness that patience requires with myself.
Starting in August, shortly after the beginning of this school year, each Sunday, I set my alarm, load the paddelboard into the car, drive to Hurricane Hole Marina to participate in the class. The mind chatter, “What will they think of me when I fall in the water?” “I am the fattest girl in the class” “It is too windy, cold, hot….to go today.” “I am tired, I should sleep in.” and other negative self defeating thoughts would start up the minute the alarm went off during the first month of my dedication to Sunday class. Yet, I got up, got in the car, dressed in a bathing suit in public, got on a paddleboard, floated out in front of an outside tiki bar restaurant where people are watching and pursued this new form of exercise and spiritual time on the water.
This morning, with the time change, I woke up at 6 a.m. (which is really 7 am because we fell back an hour) and noticed that the mind chatter was, ‘Oh wow, I have to wait two more hours to go to paddleboard yoga” “Yeah, it is cold and the wind is strong, but I know I can paddle to the cove.” “Oh man, I cannot wait to get out there!” Three months of persevering through the negative….and here I am on the positive side of this thought pattern. I did not try to change thoughts, just ignored them and got my self to the class. Hmmm…wonder how this would work with other areas of my life? Something to ponder on another day…….
Today’s class was awesome, it was windy and the temperature was chilly, but once I felt the sun on my skin and the splash of chilly salt water as I pushed the board in, all was right with the world. I am getting stronger, I can hold the poses longer, I am willing to try the headstand and believe that one day I can do it. I try the poses and am becoming willing to believe that I can be one of “those people”
I am getting comfortable with my body as it is, becoming willing to stop comparing myself to others. God has blessed me with the ability to purchase my own paddleboard,which brings new challenges, carrying a 12 foot long 36 inch wide board to the car, loading it, unloading it and launching it in the water in front of people…..aggh! Yes, I have dinged it, and no I cannot lift it on top of the car yet, yet I know handling it gracefully will come in time. When people ask me if I want help carrying it and loading it, I politely decline, stating that I have to learn, practice and use my own body to accomplish the task. I get upset with myself that I cannot lift and move with agility of my teacher and young gals who are in the class, yet, I know if I keep moving past the fear of what others think, past the fear of not accomplishing something I really want, that I will get there, I will lift that doggone thing up and gracefully put it on top of the car!
My mind is in this game, all head chatter stops the minute the paddle is in my hand and I am moving out of Hurricane Hole, there is nothing else but the moment. This is an awesome improvement from three months ago when I started.