Wake Up Call

Wake up to how big you can be in your life.

These were the words of my yoga instructor the other night.

I was at class following my work day, trying to recommit to my workout. Although I had been practicing regularly, I felt my dedication was slipping, and my body knew this, too.

That night I unrolled my mat more so to wake up my muscles and less so to wake up my mind.

As usual, though, yoga gave me something more than I was seeking.

Earlier that day on my drive to work I received a morning pep talk by phone from my very patient mother. 

I was having what I call a short-sighted morning,  and I could not see the forest for the trees.

You dont recognize all the things you are capable of, my mother told me

Somehow, our conversation had veered off into the treacherous terrain of self doubt, the area I usually keep cordoned off tightly with no access allowed.

You need to give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished and for all that you are able to do, she added.

I arrived at work shortly thereafter.

It was quiet, and I took my time getting settled. I grabbed coffee, took the long way back to my desk and hopped on an email exchange with a colleague familiar with my daily work, my writing and the work I do with my daughter’s company, among other things.

I dont know how you do it all, she exclaimed at the end of the stream.

What is it that I do? I wondered. I just do what I do!

It is not in my nature to take such inventory; however, twice before 10 a.m., I had heard the same thing, a clear signal to pay attention to the message.

Once at yoga, though, the morning seemed like a long time ago.

We were in Crescent Lunge with one leg forward and bent at the knee and the other shooting straight back, long and strong. Arms reach high alongside the head with energy sparking out all five fingers.

Reach up, the instructor said. Grow long through the crown of the head and reach for the sky. You can grow in yoga, just like you can in life.

I reached high and looked at the ceiling, thinking about the annual physical I had after only a few months of yoga. I had grown half an inch! Apparently, it is true that you can grow in yoga just like you can in life!

The instructor told us to tilt back, grow big and explore what we could see.

I reached back, lifting my gaze and tracking the ceiling towards the back wall. I stretched myself as best I could, growing to the edge of comfort.

Later, we stood in Tree, one foot to the ground with the other pressed to the opposite inner thigh. Hands in prayer, eyes look straight ahead.

In Tree, we are supposed to grow in opposite directions with energy pressing downward through the standing leg and upward through the crown of the head. We hold the pose for a few beats before interlacing the fingers and pushing the arms down before raising them up.

Again, our gaze travels towards the ceiling, and we are asked to tilt back, growing a bit past our comfort zone to see what we can see.

The practice was hard but in a good way. My muscles woke up; my body was challenged.

I reached the end of the practice feeling accomplished and confident, knowing I had received the same message that evening as I had that morning.

I rolled up my mat, and the day's message dawned on me. 

I had to start opening my eyes each day to what I have accomplished, having faith in my abilities and in how far I can tilt.