Leaning Into Yoga


I love yoga, but my actions aren’t consistent with my emotions. I can practice faithfully for weeks, and then one missed session will lead to eons of slacking.

Yoga is a journey. I just wish I stayed on the road more consistently. Some days, I feel as if I’m in the same place as I was five years ago. In other words, I’m stuck.

My desire to advance my practice is no longer a fleeting thought. It’s an imperative. At-home practice is good, but I need help climbing out of my yoga rut. I need to take my butt back to class. The fact that I haven’t been able to make time for it has me frustrated to no end.

I tried to explain my feelings to Hubs. As an example, I told him about a cousin who recently started yoga and learned to do a headstand.

“Why are you comparing yourself to her?” he asked. “Do you even want to do a headstand?”

“The headstand isn’t the point,” I said. “The point is that she has been consistently practicing with an instructor, so she has improved. I need to go to class more, and I can’t figure out how to make that work with our schedules.”

“You don’t think you’re getting better?” he asked. “I don’t believe that. Aren’t you working out at home?”

I told him I can’t see myself to correct the poses. And there are some moves I can’t figure out how to do on my own. He suggested that I photograph myself and make corrections.

I don’t think he got it. I’m certain that when he’s ready to return to martial arts, he won’t requalify for his black belt by practicing alone and recording sparring matches with a punching bag.

But, I digress.

My stuckness made me tentative on the rare occasions I attended a class. I wouldn’t push. I internally cited a bum knee or lack of flexibility as a reason to avoid more advanced poses. I applauded myself for listening to my body.

This week, I snapped out of it. I took Thursday off to shuttle my dad to eye surgery, but it was cancelled at the last minute. So I took advantage of the free time to read Lean In, a book I’ve renewed four times from the library without cracking a page.

You can read a synopsis or review of the book on any number of sites, so I won’t get into that. I’ll just tell you what I’ve learned after reading about half of it.

I need to give myself more credit. I need to push for what I want, or I won’t get it. I need to speak up for my good work.

With that in mind, I signed up for an evening yoga session. At the onset of class, the instructor asked us each to set an intention. I wanted to work on a lot that night, but I tried to keep it simple.

Stop being afraid. Breathe. Reach.

The instructor, Angie, suggested we “play” after stretching our legs in half pigeon pose. I eyed her suspiciously as she lifted her straightened leg, bound her foot in a strap, and pulled the strap over her shoulder.

My intentions drowned out my hesitance.

Stop being afraid. Breathe. Reach.

I grabbed the strap and wrapped it over my foot. As I pulled the strap over my shoulders, I waited for my knee to protest. It didn’t. I took a deep breath and sank as far into the pose as my body would allow. Leaning in, or in this case, sinking in, felt right. The pose was easier to hold once I trusted my ability.

“You all look so beautiful!” Angie cried. “I’m taking a picture.”

The above pic is the one she took. I like who I see here. Strong. Confident. Focused.

I need to lean in more often.


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4 thoughts on “Leaning Into Yoga

  1. Pingback: Yoga Then and Now – Yoga Bynum

  2. I came across your post this evening and I wanted to thank you for sharing. It’s like you’re reading my mind. I practiced yoga with Angie and loved every minute of it. But then work got in the way. Its comforting to know that I am not the only one that struggles with balance. And its more than just having your instructor provide corrections but it’s having someone cheer your efforts and celebrate with you. I can hear Angie saying, “You all look beautiful! ” Her spirit and the spirit of like minded individuals filled my loving and living cup. To the point where I felt I could handle anything with poise and grace. In your words, I gotta get my butt back to class. Thank you for reminding of the gift of yoga and Angie. Marsha

    • Marsha – Thanks for stopping by! Yes, the encouragement and celebrations are VERY important. Angie once sent me a card in the mail that said I was awesome. It made my week. I hope to see you in a class soon!

  3. Pingback: Still Leaning Into Yoga | DivaScript

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