For all that I have complaints about my endocrinologist’s world view,* there was one thing she said last Friday that has really resonated with me. As we were going through my lifestyle assessment—job, schedule, usual meal choices and physical activity day-to-day—she sussed out the fact that the demands of my non-profit job, both in the sense of dedication to my org’s mission, and the general workload/stress, are strong contributors to my current landscape of sketchy nutritional choices and sedentary days. And the endocrinologist said:
You should be taking your health and self-care as seriously as you do your job.
And although I’d wager that she and I have drastically different definitions for what constitutes “health” or “self-care,”** it’s still a point well taken.
I’m not the first or the last non-profit professional to fall into this trap, but I do have a pattern of neglecting my well-being in an attempt to keep up with the workload and sustain an organization I legitimately, really, truly believe in and want to see succeed. And as I figure out my approach towards handling my new diagnosis, it’s worth recalibrating a little bit.
So tonight after work, I did something very brave: I went to yoga class.
Now, I get it. Going to yoga doesn’t take nearly the same kind of raw courage as facing down a grizzly bear. Especially when it’s beginner yoga, and when you consider that I used to have quite a regular practice, back in the day.
But I pretty much gave up yoga in my late 30’s, when my body made its final increase to my current size, a size that has held stable for more than a decade, now. Which also means I haven’t done yoga regularly for more than a decade. And although I tried a class or two at the local shala not too long after we moved here, the whole experience was way too triggering for me to go back after those first down-in-flames attempts.
So risking this tonight felt pretty damn courageous for me. And it went surprisingly okay.
Now, I’d love to be able to say that I found my yoga bliss instantly and I’m totally back in love with the practice. But let’s be real: I didn’t and I’m not.
In addition to being so much bigger than my old yoga body was, I’m also nearly a dozen years older than that body, so there are stiffnesses and aches and pains that I didn’t have to contend with before. It’ll probably take me some time to work out what sorts of supports to use to help accommodate this new reality.
But the good news is I really can seeing myself going back to class regularly enough that I’ll be able to work out how to support these old bones in different asanas. And that is absolutely its own victory.
The playlist our teacher used for tonight’s class was all feel-good/gratitude type songs, which also all turned out to be by Jason Mraz. Now, she was much too polite to include this particular cut on that playlist, but considering how scary the step of going to yoga class was for me tonight, I’ll have this Jason Mraz song in my head for the rest of the evening:
* So many complaints.
** So, so different.