Tuesday, May 4, 2010

inhale on the start, exhale as you hit

I have to blame roller derby for my absence from writing. It is only fair. I fell in love with something else, and it took me away from self-reflection. This has both positive and negative consequences, of course. My intention here was to blog about my yoga practice and the challenge of maintaining my own truth in the face of assumptions about those who practice yoga. So while a part of me feels a digression about derby means straying from the original path, a greater part of me wants to acknowledge that yoga is a lot more than the semi-pretzel maneuvers we do on a little rubber mat.

Reality is: I'm a big-city girl trapped in a small town that tries to act big. As much as I challenge myself to find peace of mind and contentment by sitting in meditation, I need an outlet for my excess energy and my outsized personality. I grew up watching the old school, banked track derby with my dad, and I spent far too much time attempting fancy tricks on a wooden board with wheels, so the fascination makes sense. Learning that there was a derby team in action nearby supplied me with one more way to burn off that excess energy and meet some more like-minded people.

I feel fortunate that I started this new journey with a few years of spiritual practice under my belt. It is amazing how often we can access the peace of mind that yoga brings even when we're far away from our studio or our mat. Finding myself in this very different, non-metropolitan area forces me to interact with folks who dwell on the polar opposite end of the political and social spectrum. Having patience at the ready makes it much easier to cope when things don't quite go my way.

And the breath! Oh, the breath. How having a reliable breathing practice helps when you're trying to build endurance that will last when you hit a bitch as hard as possible while skating at top speeds. (Classy, huh?) I find myself literally meditating on when to inhale and when to exhale to increase the force of my hip checks. I also appreciate finishing a particularly demanding endurance drill and still having plenty of energy to continue practice, while the rest of my team needs breaks. It stands as a testament to how powerful and not airy-fairy a truly consistent yoga practice can be.

I reckon that from this point forward more roller derby stuff creeps into my daily* introspections. Of course I still have all sorts of stuff rising to the surface about teaching and living my yoga, as well as my own practice. But this is a part of my life and practice now. So, here it is.

* Yes, I would like to say I'll be back to daily blogging. Perhaps as my friends struggle in daily yoga challenges, I will struggle with a regular writing practice. If they can do it...

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