I returned to yoga today after a break of a few years, since that summer that I spent at a couple of ashrams Upstate and in Quebec, and at a zen practice center north of San Francisco. I was really open to new experiences, and it was a very special time in my life. I took a detour through the sensual realm and lost sight of my path, as is easy to do. I try to remain focused on what I mean to do in this life, and view distractions as exactly that: follow whims and you're likely to spin in place like a top rather than move ahead, while expending the same amount of energy.
The first thing that I felt in class today was the intense comfort of returning to a practice, a cultivated habit that on and off has had a key place in my life for twelve years, since the last semester of college, when I, more miserable than I thought I could be, saw an ad in the paper for a yoga studio and went to take a class. In those final few months of school, I suddenly, day by day, began to see things as they were, to appreciate the things that I did enjoy, and not to hold on too tightly to the ones that I felt were stifling me; change is the only constant and, as predicted, they slipped away. Everything slips away, and I am often reminded of a perfect line by Anthony Doerr in his wonderful memoir, Four Seasons in Rome: 'I'm thankful that everything sweet is sweet because it is finite.'
Some things that I know I can do, and well, were too hard to even attempt today, and I recognized my present limits and stopped in a soft and natural way when doing so made sense. I've done yoga enough to know that my practice will be there tomorrow, or next week, or whenever I'm ready to take it up again. I wish I could have that kind of faith in love, or other people. I can always try.