Due to the year-end rush at work, the holidays and travel, I got behind on my visits to my chiropractor. Last Thursday, about mid-day, my lower back sent me a clear message that it was going to ruin my weekend if I did not address it. FAST. So on Friday, I went to see my chiropractor, Dr. J.
Dr. J quickly tells me that I am tighter than he has seen me in years. I express frustration at this and ask him how that could be, when I have been doing so much yoga.
“You know, there is this new word in the English language. It was introduced last year in the dictionary,” Dr. J tells me. “It is called … MODERATION.”
My immediate response was to roll my eyes in exasperation at his corny attempt at humor. I seem to do that a lot in his office.
Later that night, I made a huge mistake and told my husband what he said. I cannot tell you how many times over the weekend my hubby just looked at me and said in a sarcastic tone, “oh yeah, that’s moderation.” Even worse, “Remember what Dr. J said.” Or worst of all, “I told you so.”
Truthfully, I know that I struggle with moderation. I always have. Dr. J was absolutely right (and I hate it that he might actually read this).
In my mind, if something is a good thing, then I can’t do too much of it. Or have too much of it.
Yoga is an amazing discipline. I love what it does for my body as well as my mind. My yoga instructors are phenomenal. I want to absorb their kindness and adopt their approach to life.
As a result, I have been going to yoga almost every day. Rain or shine, back spasms or no sleep – I am there. If I am out-of-town and can’t get to the studio, I practice to their instruction via a podcast.
Call it being “type A” or maybe it is just plain crazy. It became a competition with myself. I want to do the poses that I cannot do; I want to be the best client of the studio; I want to be the most earnest learner of the discipline; I want to make my muscles leaner and firmer.
And the most important realization? I lost some of the joy in the process.
I have had practices in the past in which I left the studio feeling an absolute joyousness. There were times when I lost myself totally on the mat; when I truly focused on how the movements were making my body feel and then trying to make it feel even better through my breath and other yoga tools.
Instead, what my practice has become lately is more of a box to check. I need to get in that yoga workout. I need to improve on at least three poses today. My body is tired, but I need to keep this up to get stronger. I will lose it all if I back off.
I am not as young as I used to be. My body feels my lack of moderation. I constantly smell like China Gel (a wonderfully natural equivalent of Ben Gay). I am stiff and sore. I have to see Dr. J. more often.
Like many of us, I have faced this struggle in other areas of my life, including my work and outside-life balance and my diet.
It took Dr. J’s
humor to jolt me into seeing that I had lost the balance a bit again. And I realized that it relates to the concepts that I address often in this blog.
Kindness. Gentleness. Reasonableness. Compromise.
We all need to be reminded that these concepts should be applied to ourselves, as well as to others in our lives. May you all have a Dr. J in your life to do so.