A key component of my sanity is downtime. Time spent doing less-than-productive types of things. In yogic terms, savasana is the ultimate pose because it embodies this sense of letting go. The alignment in savasana is primarily mental. It is the ultimate surrender because it requires no effort. And, thus, it is one of the most challenging asanas for me. I routinely skip savasana. Routinely. I am not proud of this. It illustrates my deep seated sense of restlessness that mires my life in overdose and keeps inner peace at arm's length.
The turn of the year lead me to give up a few things that I dearly love in an attempt to restore some of my lost sanity. I decided to put my formal coaching duties on indefinite hold, I decided to not coach the spring season because I did not feel I had adequate time to give it my best and I did not feel comfortable giving less than that. Then, at the end of the month, I reached the conclusion that I had arrived at the end of my journey on the yoga instructor path, that I would no longer pursue that as a future addition to my life.
These decisions were difficult for me. I despise quitting, especially when I see it surface in myself. I've yet to experience a race where I crossed the start line but not the finish line, though I realize eventually that day will come. I've only given up on a few non-work-related projects in my life, college water polo and my yoga internship. I don't relish feeling this way.
Sometimes when I reach the point of overload and I observe my sanity slipping away I am coherent enough to look around at the others in my life. Only sometimes, usually I'm just slipping off the cliff into my own little meltdown. But, recently, I finally admitted that my two roommates might know a little something I don't. Both of them do a halfway decent job of taking care of themselves with R&R. So I started trying to follow their lead. I started going to bed earlier like Trevor and I started making breakfast like Paul. I found clarity from these simple changes, clarity that was escaping me earlier with my tendency to keep myself in motion during every minute of every day.
A reclusive period ensued. I built a small cocoon and I finally forced myself through some savasana. I started running again and decided that time deserves priority over distance and that I needed to cross off the sub 16 5K on my list of meaningless accomplishments. I don't think I raced a single 5K last year, it's been a long time since I've really battled the clock for every second, but it seems fitting to do so in 2012. Sunday will be my first B race to get used to that 5K pain, the moment when the monkey jumps on my shoulders and starts pounding my chest into my legs and my gut into my spine. I look forward to the clarity it will bring.
With the decision to give up these two parts of my life, things I desperately crave, much like the constant thoughts of food during my juicing days, I have restored a bit of inner peace. With that inner peace I can try, once again, to reach out and give to my friends, the very friends who I neglected over the past few weeks and months.
Shane's words this week have centered around the breath and how valuable it is when we pay attention. The concept is, if we were drowning under water and somehow managed to get to the surface, our first gasp of breath would instantly be the most valuable moment of our lives. But, without the framing, without the context of the true importance of each breath to our existence, we so quickly forget the relevance of opening our chest, expanding our ribs, lifting our belly, and drinking from the most basic nourishment of life.
With that, I'm off to core restore. My least favorite of all yoga classes, and perhaps the one I need the most.