Thursday, March 08, 2012

How Failing a Challenge was my Success

I may have mentioned that I started yoga?
About a month ago the studio where I practice at issued a challenge called the moon challenge. It was pretty simple in theory. Attend 25 classes in 30 days. There's a chance of winning a prize at the end (a one-year membership), but the real idea behind it was to really get into your own practice and commit to it.
I love a challenge. I loved that they had stars for every day you go. I loved the idea of it. I was super into this whole new yoga experience, and the timing could not have been more perfect. In typical Laural fashion I signed up, committed to it and I was ready.
And then.
A physical issue that has been plaguing me for awhile became a little bit more serious. And after several doctors appointments, tests, etc., I found out I needed surgery. And, despite explaining the fact I was in a yoga challenge my doctor felt that pushing back surgery to put stars on a chart ... probably wasn't my best option.
I respect that.
But still.
Do you know what I usually do when I know my plan don't work out? I self destruct.
I can't tell you how many times I've gone on a diet, had a bad week, and promptly gone to a buffet and said "I can't do it anyway, I may as well eat."
Or decided that I can't run a 10k so I'm not doing a 5k.
Or tried to get something I really wanted. And quit completely.
And when I started calculating the days till surgery, and trying to take it easy before, and knowing that I probably would not be at a class for a few days. Well, I felt like a complete failure. I had this challenge. It wasn't about winning. It was about completing and getting into my practice. And being part of something I loved. And not giving up.
And, as much as I was trying to be cool about it and look for the miracles and understand and everything else. I was not happy. And I was afraid that if I didn't do the challenge then I'd give up. And this wasn't something I was willing to give up on.
In fact. I wasn't ready to give up on me. Or give up something that I loved.
So I kept going. When I could. As I could.
At first I tried doing a couple classes a day. I figured if I doubled up then I could hit the number. Except after a couple days of that I realized it wasn't fun. It was hard and exhausting and I was going because I had to. Not because I wanted to.
And then surgery happened. And it was harder than I thought. And recovery wasn't easy. I'm okay. But, for a couple days there, success was keeping my eyes open during a movie. I wasn't even ready to pack my yoga bag. I couldn't go.
So I waited.
And then on Tuesday night I went to the class I love. The live music class. My body was better. But not perfect. And I knew I had to take it easy.
One of the things the teacher said in that class was that her challenge was to listen to our bodies. Take breaks. And stay in a resting pose all night if that is what we needed.
I think I did about half the class. I didn't push any of my poses. I didn't attempt anything I was afraid of. And as people were working hard all around me I just kind of stopped. And let myself be present where I was.
That. That was a million times more challenging than any plank series a teacher can throw at me. (That's not a challenge!).
Just Be.
And tonight I will go back.
And I will continue to go back.
In a sense I failed the challenge. And I'm sad about that. I wanted to get all those stars. But, in my own way I succeeded. Because I know that for me the challenge was accepting my limits, being okay with them, giving myself a break. And pushing forward.
Bring on the next challenge. I'm ready - for whatever lessons it may bring with it.

 Gold Star for me, anyway!

1 comment:

Haley-O (Cheaty) said...

You are awesome. I'm so inspired! And I definitely want to hear more!