Has it really been twenty-three days into January? Twenty-three days into daily yoga practice? The regular attendance at yoga classes this month means coming home late almost every night; this evening I had a Hotflow class and when I reached home, it was 9:30 pm.
Sometimes I have dinner, sometimes I don't. The odd thing is, I feel better eating less. Lighter. Stronger.
I am definitely feeling stronger this month, with the regular practice. I even came into an assisted Tripod Headstand this evening, and this is my first time doing it.
But I digress. I wanted to talk about something else that happened off the mat.
Last week I argued with someone whom I felt treated me unfairly. I have avoided the confrontation for a long time, but last week I did not feel like letting things go any longer. The negativity from that conflict seeped into my practice on Friday and the weekends. I would be in Plank Pose and suddenly I would be having that same argument in my mind. Anger and unhappiness reminds me of a tape set on loop. She wronged me. He betrayed me. -- We play the scripts over and over again, where we always stand as the victim. In our minds we plot revenge, we think badly of those that hurted us, we settle scores.
What a waste of time. Time is much better spent practicing yoga. Or reading. Or running. Or swimming. Or drawing. Or listening to music. Or writing in your journal.
Monday morning I was on my way to work and the negative thoughts started coming back. I felt the heat and discomfort in my chest and stomach arising from all that indignant energy. I felt maligned, and I wanted to be treated fairly by the other party. I didn't want to just let go. I wanted to stand up for myself. I wanted action.
Six years ago, conflicts like these usually set me down a spiral of self-destruction rage. I have difficulties controlling my fury and I would lash out at everyone in the office. But about five years ago I picked up a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called Anger. It led me to meditation, the dharma -- and indirectly to yoga.
The miracle is, this week is one of my better week at work. I believe, unconsciously I had channeled my indignant anger into problem-solving and motivation at work. My colleagues remarked I was "hyper" this week. They probably don't believe I was "rechannelling anger" into positive energy. But I was.
I have not felt so alive at work for a very long time. The truth is, by telling myself to avoid confrontations all these time, I was repressing the better part of myself.
I am an intense, passionate personality. That is who I am. Yet, because a long time ago, I lacked the stability to control these powerful emotions, I made a lot of mistakes -- some for which I can never make amends. I had become so afraid of my own intensity that I smothered it. I was so self-conscious about my bad temper that I suppressed my passions -- even moments when I should have spoken up, should have challenged unfairness.
But this week was different. I realise I wasn't lashing out at people randomly. Maybe I have mellowed, or maybe I have found a better way of dealing with the emotional flux within myself. The negative loop in the mind has finally stopped. I handled a few stressful situations at work in a rational, professional manner. I look at myself now and I wondered how I got here -- because if you have seen the emotional trainwreck I was so many years ago, you would be surprised too.
After all these years of yoga and the dharma, I still feel like myself -- the girl with the same insecurities and quirks. But sometimes -- sometimes something happens and I find myself responding differently. It would suddenly catch me -- the realisation that something within me had changed.
I know it is yoga and the dharma that made the difference. Yoga can heal your life. I have felt it personally, and I am grateful.