by Vanessa Lucas (student & friend)
This summer at Greenville Yoga, there is a challenge in place. Several people are currently working towards 40 classes before September 10. Are you signed up? If so, I want to congratulate you—this commitment is not to be taken lightly. I am not officially signed up for the challenge, but I do get inspiration from the names posted in each of the studios, and the simple hash marks that mark class attendance.
Because I know that it takes quite a commitment to attend class every single time. There are so many other things to do, and so many other places to be. Several times as I lay on my mat waiting for class to begin, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude that I was even able to make it. I don’t even have kids yet. I can not even begin to understand the accommodations that parents have to make—and I know that there are several parents on the list.
During the course of the challenge Liz and Brian are reaching out to the entire community through Facebook. They are including everyone in the challenge by giving us all things to consider. Today, the question was asked:
“Who or what are you practicing for this summer? Take some time and dedicate your practice to something bigger than you. What is it?”
This summer, I am making all attempts to gather enough nuts for the winter. My yoga practice, writing regimen, cardio workout and bicycle riding is helping me do this. Every September, since I was a teenager, my moods start to shift. I spend all summer smiling and making friends—and all winter hibernating and avoiding eye contact.
Until a couple years ago, I was taking Zoloft to balance it all out. Back then, in the summer I felt numb, like a zombie, in the winter I was balanced. It was nice. I began practicing yoga in 2009, at the same time I was committed to 60 minute gym workouts at least 5 days a week. I am certain that these two parts of my schedule helped me wean myself off of the anti-depressants, against the better advice of my doctors.
This past October, things started going wrong. One thing after another, parts of my life that I thought were solid and positive started to fall apart. I got stuck in one thought storm after another, and before I knew it I was surrounded by so many black clouds I couldn’t even move. I do not wish to go there again.
Albert Einstein said, “Life is like a bicycle, in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.” I will surely keep this in mind as this summer is all about keeping moving. I believe that if I do keep moving—with 4-5 yoga classes and 4-5 cardio sessions a week, I will be able to find a healthy balance in my life once again.
My yoga practice and the community that surrounds me is very important. Through yoga, I have achieved balance in my life that I never thought possible. I do not wish to be prescribed anti-depressants again, and I will do all the breathing, sweating and writing necessary to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Again, kudos to the people currently taking part in the challenge—and to the people who are brave enough to attend class even with five thousand other things on your mind. It is tough to show up each and every day, especially when tears come so easy, but the best part about our community is the overwhelming acceptance. When things are tough, keep breathing—someone will definitely bring you a tissue, offer a hug or just breathe a little deeper just for you. I may be saving positive energies for my own winter darkness, but I do have some breath and love for you. Namaste.