We all function by sets of programs, which may or may not be conscious. The challenge before us is to find the appropriate program and get the bugs out. In this analogy the body is the hardware, our programming is the software, and the Self is the user. However, we did not write all of these programs, and some of their language is so archaic it is unintelligible. It is a heroic challenge, indeed, to identify our programs and rewrite them all while continuing to live our lives, yet this is the task of healing.

Judith, Anodea. Eastern Body, Western Mind . Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. Kindle Edition.

I started a fairly regular yoga practice about a year ago, back when all my martial arts training made me feel spent and sore, all over and all of the time. (The crazed training regimen being a reaction to some other things going on, but that's a different story.) Initially, I figured it would help me recover, but it didn't, really. Instead, I discovered muscles and body imbalances that I didn't even know I had. Yoga, I discovered, can be hard work. But at the end as we lay quietly in our savasanas, something about rest touched a very vulnerable -- almost scary -- place for me, and so of course I had to explore what that was about. So anyway, that's how I ended up in a yoga teacher training program.

Thing was, teacher training took up a lot of my weekends, and with grad school and martial arts training also in play, I sort of resented having another thing on my plate. I had to give up hours of martial arts training, some get-togethers with friends, and homework time. But part of me lived by the second... like, look, there is never going to be a perfect time, so if opportunity knocks, open the damn door. So despite my annoyance, I clocked in my hours and put in the time. I worked hard when I had to, and somewhere at my 70-hour mark, some shackles came loose.

I went through a rough summer/fall last year where I felt like I could barely hang on to life by my fingertips. How was I to know that this introspection and checking in with my self and my body would be exactly what I needed at that moment? How was I to know that at the beginning of this year, I would be losing my job and forced to regroup at this stage of my career? Or that I would lose some friendships and forge others, and find the need to love and support myself when no one else could, because sometimes shit happens and life really does single you out?

As my training hours went by, I found a reassuring simplicity in setting an intention, in being mentally present, in letting myself sleep (yoga nidra and meditation), in actively working sometimes and at other times, giving myself permission to not try so hard. I was introduced to stories behind my asanas, and a system of values that were at once foreign and familiar. I played with acro yoga. I worked my core, and I meditated. I physically went through all the motions, and surprisingly, my heart and mind followed. Sometimes a good heart opener is exactly the right thing. And sometimes it's the protective yielding posture of child's pose. Sometimes at the end, I lay in savasanas with my hands over my heart and belly, tears dripping down my face because I am not ready to trust yet that life is good. But I let myself cry because in each practice, I've experienced my strength, willingness to try and experiment, ability to honestly assess my capabilities, and capacity to improve. So if I cry during an asana, I have no shame.

There is a mind-body connection wherein sometimes my body goes and the rest of my being follows. It's a little fake-it-til-you-make-it, so there's no magic or miracle to this journey. But I do find my inner self flexing its ability to heal, to forgive in the face of wrong, and love in the face of danger. I can let go when I need to, and hang on when I need to. It's a new landscape to my journey, and one I hope I can share with friends soon.

I know I haven't written in a while. I've also learned so much since I've last written that it's a little overwhelming to think of all the blog posts I want to write but haven't yet. Talk soon.