Re-Prioritizing: Yoga

I’ve started to re-prioritize. This might seem redundant because “re” implies that I’m doing this verb “prioritize” for only the second time in my life (ha ha ha), when in reality, I’ve had to get back on the horse many, many times after falling off many, many times. Most likely this will be a repeated process, as much I don’t want to admit it, because I’m human and full of flaws. But I’ve lost a sense of routine and meaning, and I’m determined to get those back.

These should be “duh” things, but I’ve found that if I don’t 1. exercise consistently and 2. journal consistently, things go to pot. Fast. Especially as we travel to my sister’s wedding, I present/consult for work, and Timothy travels again, I will rely on consistency to keep me centered and distracted from the emotional waves of the next four weeks. Today we’re just looking at #1.

Since graduating, it’s been difficult to keep these things going because I don’t have a comfortable academic community to keep me accountable in doing things that have meaning for me (ex: writing papers -that I poured my heart into- that have due dates, creating presentations -that let my natural extroverted self have a hay day and tap into my expertise and make myself believe I have something to say that’s of value- that have deadlines). I’ve realized that I’ve relied on my friends at seminary, two in particular, a lot to keep me accountable – at the drop of a hat to verbally process, challenge me, and give hugs and lend a listening ear when I’ve had to bawl my eyes out. Now, these two friends are in different states on a year-long pastoral internship. I love my husband, but there are things that a spouse just can’t help you with because they are too close. (“Of course you’ll say I’m worth getting dressed all fancy in the morning, because you’re my husband, you’re supposed to say that!”) I can be my own worst enemy, honestly. So calling these girlfriends of mine, often, is a saving grace and I miss their warmth and presence constantly.

But about these things I am determined to make more consistent in my life. Exercising. Yoga is way more fun than the gym most of the time, except when What Not To Wear is on (I don’t go to yoga every day because it would be too expensive). Since I’m writing it in my blog, I really have to do these things because now other people know about it. Oh, bugger. Well, here it goes:

1. Exercising. I want to get back into yoga once a week and the gym 4 other days during the week. The gym in our apartment complex is just down the hall, and yoga is near the U of M off University. I’ve been going to this yoga studio off and on since last year. Initially I started going because I was diagnosed with general anxiety. Since then the diagnose has been dropped but I still go because I like it a lot.

I went back to yoga on Friday for the first time since May. I was tentative to go back because the last time I left in a puddle of tears because I was in the last stages a year-long project (writing my Master’s thesis) and the yoga class I just made me feel so loved and whole. I was so self-conscious, uncourageously procrastinated and put off editing for the last month, i.e. writer’s block. But this sense of worthiness in the words of my project was being embodied in my practice, as someone who was becoming aware of the limits and limitlessness of her body. Through the practice I was reminded that I was a loved and capable and authoritative child of God.

This realization was so overwhelming and I felt so ashamed of my crying uncontrolled emotional reaction to this flow of love and appreciation for my life and for myself that I just left right after class and didn’t say goodbye to my teacher. I was also in the final stretches of my class on the theology of the Holy Spirit, which affirmed my understanding that we share in Jesus’, well, everything, including his authority and power. This understanding is most pronounced for me in a pose called warrior 2. I feel so much power in this pose. I don’t usually seek out experiences of power. But it’s a kind of power where I claim who I am, where I am, and what my mind and body are doing. Through my personhood and authority, and through the authority I share with Christ, I claim those things, I claim myself and my drive. This is a new way of thinking for me.

Anyway, when I went back to yoga on Friday, I saw on the calendar that the teacher for my class was the same teacher that I had in the Spring when I had such an emotionally rough time. Crap. I didn’t want to open myself up again to that embarrassment. But that opening up was a necessary risk to having a rejuvenating, learning and back-to-whole experience, and to getting a monster work out in the process. I was so nervous, but I had an amazing practice by the end. Thank goodness I went. And at the end of class the teacher remember me and said she missed seeing me around. She wanted to know how my religion degree went (she recalled this without my prompting), and I updated her on my graduating and moving and finding work. She remembered me. Hundreds if not thousands of University of Minnesota students stream through there every month, and she remembered some random post-seminary student. That gave me the sense of affirmation and community that I am just starved for right now.

So, I have to get back to yoga once a week, I mean I GET to! Yes, this is an opportunity to be well, not a chore. When I exercise I feel positive, courageous, rejuvenated and energetic, and closer back to being myself. Being myself is an opportunity, not a chore. So – first act of re-prioritization – yoga 1 day, work out 4 days per week. My weeks are Saturday-Friday. On Sunday I worked out, so now I have 3 days of gym left and 1 day of yoga left before Friday. I hope I can do it! Here’s my (and your) encouragement from Pinterest:

Darn right. Stay tuned for why #2 (journaling) is annoying but absolutely necessary to my journey of re-prioritizing. Am I the only one in the middle of a re-prioritizing process? What things do you wish to start re-prioritizing?


7 thoughts on “Re-Prioritizing: Yoga

  1. I’m right there with you, friend. Yoga and journaling are what keep me running too! Except for me, I need to commit to these disciplines now that I’m starting graduate school, to keep me sane and to remind me of who I am besides a Student. Maybe I’ll need them even more when I finish 🙂

    Also I was pretty sure I was going to skip my Monday night yoga class because I feel achy and have a paper to write… but after reading your post I feel like I should go. Thanks for the lovely descriptions, and also for the kick in the butt 🙂

    1. You do yoga too? How fun!! Oh my gosh yes, it’s a discipline helpful for during and after school. 🙂 I wish I started it early in my MA.

      YAY KICKS IN THE BUTT! That sounds terrible. What are friends for? But I think you get my drift haha. I’m so glad you went and that is was well worth it!

  2. Allison,

    Great blog! I have tried hot yoga from time to time but find it an expensive hobby to keep up. I have started blogging too but am too shy to promote it just yet as I am still finding my writing groove. Hope you are well!

    – Laura (Francis) Terasaki

    1. Laura, I read your blog (well, your last post) and its beautiful, you should totally link posts on your Facebook and such! Oh gosh, hot yoga is fun, but exhausting all at the same time. Core Power Yoga usually has a full week of free yoga for your first week (including hot yoga), and a student discount, and it’s in California too – check it out:

  3. Allison,

    Just read your ‘post’ from this morning………..don’t be discouraged – As someone who has lived 76 years – I can honestly say that life is an ongoing process that continues to ask us to “prioritize” – Looks to me that you are doing just fine!! Love, Grandma J

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