Last week, I had surgery on my mouth, for the second time in two years. I am getting used to this process – my intense grinding is ruining my teeth and gums. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard dentists say, you need to chill out. And my yoga teachers say, girl, you hold so much stress in your jaw and neck. I’d love to just stop this, just magically let all of that vanish, and honestly I thought when I left my corporate career that it would disappear. But one slight change doesn’t just make bad habits go away. That takes a lifetime.
So, due to the mouth surgery, I have to be on a liquid diet for 4 weeks. You’ll be seeing a lot of smoothie recipes from me over the next month. 🙂
In addition, the evening before my surgery, I met some friends at one of the more intense yoga studios in town. I don’t do the super hot/super fast yoga too often – I do enjoy it, but it often doesn’t feel like yoga to me, so I prefer my gentler yet still challenging studios. However, I knew I’d be in bed for at least a week after surgery without being able to go to yoga, so I thought I’d spend one last night in a challenging routine, alongside friends, and it completely kicked my ass. I felt dizzy throughout the class, was tired, couldn’t hold my balance, didn’t know if I could get through it, and to make it worse, we had a really, really short savasana. We hustled through the routine, had a tiny rest, and then rushed out, and on my way out of the studio, in my dizzy, exhausted state, I fell – twisting my ankle bad enough that I heard not one, but two snaps, with immediate intense pain, and two huge knots swelling on top of my ankle and foot. A week later, it still hurts, and is still swollen.
I’m a stubborn gal if you haven’t already realized that, and our health insurance isn’t great this year, so I refused to go to the emergency room, and maybe I should have gone – but I didn’t want to deal with the county hospital wait times and then my mouth surgery less than 12 hours later. So my husband took matters into his own hands – getting me ice, tons of pillows to raise my leg, crutches, a wheelchair for after the surgery, and lots and lots of splints.
All this said, listen to your instincts. I knew the class was too much for me. I was shocked at how short the savasana was. And yet, I still got up, grabbed my things, and followed the rest of the yogis out of there, blindly, not paying attention to my body breaking down. And then, my body couldn’t handle any more, and I collapsed. And now, I’ll be out of my physical practice for several weeks because of it, and it’ll be getting in the way of two yoga trainings I’ve already booked and paid for. I was really bummed at first, and now I’m realizing, this is just a lesson to slow down. And to stick with what I believe in.
I believe in yoga. The real yoga. The true, east meets west, focus on breath, focus on stillness, yoga. Not the action hero yoga. One is not better than the other, not by any means. Please do not think I am dogging fast-paced, super-hot yoga. But in my heart, I need the space that the slower yoga offers me. I need the stillness and the return to breath. With that, I am able to focus more on my body, on why I am there, on how incredible my body is to be moving me from asana to asana. That’s the yoga that I fell in love with, and that’ll always be the yoga closest to my heart. I’ll still go to the faster yoga, from time to time, as I do appreciate a harder workout occasionally, but I’ll stop and listen and take the time to understand where I’m at, without rushing. My biggest lesson, over and over in life, is to not rush. There’s no need to rush.
These little lessons in life are here to teach us about ourselves. I’m not ever going to be the workout queen, super fit, muscle-laden bikini-clad yogi. That’s just not me, first of all, it’s not in my heart. And following those type of yogis on instagram and going to practice with those types of yogis might not be a bad thing, or it could be distracting me from why I’m in this in the first place. It’s not to be an acrobat, or a sex symbol. It’s to find stillness. The only reason I went through yoga teacher training was because of the studies – I wanted to learn more about the wisdom of yoga. I had no clue I’d be teaching. I just wanted to learn, and be around a community of people who were also open enough to learn.
The essence of yoga is the union of mind and body, it’s the returning to breath and the magic that comes when you allow stillness into your life. There’s a lot to be said of the physical practice, but there’s also a lot to be said of the mental practice. My suggestion is to try and balance the two.
So for these past several days, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and watching yoga videos online, both on YogaGlo and on YouTube. I prefer to watch the online videos over practice along with them anyway – I love watching teachers teach. And I plan to go to my favorite studios here, to their yin classes, and to watch my favorite teachers in practice. So I can still have this peace, I just won’t be able to physically practice all of the peace. And that’s OK.
During this break from crunchy food, I’m planning to get more creative with smoothies. This one, this week, is for my ladies, it’s the best smoothie to drink when you’re PMS-ing and on your menstrual cycles. I promise. Give it a try. I make these every single month and I cannot get enough. They help so, so much. There’s something about combining cacao with matcha that is just magic. You will not regret trying this!
With love and honoring the practice of slowing down,
Notes: this recipe would not be nearly as delicious if it weren’t for the cacao recommendation from the incredible Jyl Marie. She’s a yoga teacher and a cacao expert, and is an amazing, generous, wonderful soul. If you can study with her, please do so. She recommended this cacao powder to me last year and I cannot get enough. And everyone who follows my blog knows I am obsessed with Zhi Tea out of Austin. Their matcha powder is the best!