I got serious about practicing yoga several years ago. I had practiced on and off for a decade in any old leggings and a t-shirt. And that was fine and good until I got sweaty and it felt crummy and looked like I had peed in my pants.
I looked around at all the other gals and saw those ubiquitous shiny reflective logos on their downward-dogging bums.
So, I started asking around. Word on the street was that these Lululemon yoga pants were absolutely worth every cent of their $90 price tag.
mulled it over obsessed about those pants for a couple of weeks. Should I buy them? $90 was a lot of money for yoga pants. Then again, I sure do love yoga.
I finally bought the darn pants and everything I’d heard was true. So smooth and silky and quick dry and snuggly like pajamas and I never wanted to take them off! Fabulous!
Yogic satisfaction was mine.
But then, of course, I needed a top and another pair of pants for when those ones were in the wash.
Fast forward to today, I have about six pair of fancy pants and as many tops. It’s good. I go to class a lot and mostly live in yoga wear. I am happy with that.
More recently though, I’ve noticed myself getting a little weird(er) about my yoga gear. I have been finding myself searching for the perfect stuff, trolling the online sales at Athleta and Amazon. I wasn’t really buying much, just looking mostly. But then, I would catch myself thinking about it-should I buy that top?-throughout the day. And at night, when I was unwinding for bed, I would be there on my phone, googling about “best yoga tops that don’t smoosh your boobs”.
In short, I was spending quite a bit of time thinking about yoga clothes that I don’t really need or want.
For a while, I just noticed this out of my peripheral vision; I didn’t really want to look. I mean, really, it’s not that big of a deal, right?
Except, I kept doing it. And I bought a few things and noticed the brief high of opening the package followed by a feeling of disappointment. Turns out, the criss-cross super wicking french terry tunic that covers your bum so you can wear your yoga pants all day didn’t look good on me. And I didn’t even really like it.
I started getting curious about what was going on here. I have never been a big shopper, so I didn’t fully relate to my friends who talked about it as a thrill and and, often, as a problem.
After several rounds of purchasing and often returning stuff, I began to see the dynamic at work.
It went something like this:
I would be working away, let’s say on this blog. Feeling a little bit stuck and, forty five minutes later, I come to and I am knee deep in gluten free tortilla recipes or, yes, yoga tops.
You see, life is feeling very full and exciting right now. There are lots of changes going on and sometimes, I hardly recognize myself. Putting my whole heart out there, again and again. It’s great! It’s thrilling!
And this shopping for yoga clothes, or whatever the internet rabbit hole du jour? Nicely numbing, pleasant, predictable.
I have arrived at this: I call baloney on the idea that there is not enough time. We are not lacking time, what we are short on is engagement.
Full engagement requires huge vulnerability. When we are “all in”, be it in a relationship or a creative endeavor, we risk judgement, failure, rejection.
Easier to just dip a toe in the water.
Easier to be passive, to gather more information, to buy some new yoga clothes.
Now, I realize that compared to all the more harmful or dramatic ways we humans numb out, spending a few hours browsing the internet or thinking about a Lululemon bra is fairly innocuous. It’s not going to hurt anyone.
But it does take something from us.
It takes the edge off the vulnerability that comes from being fully invested in the moment.
And, in so doing, it also takes the moment.
I am no longer willing to pay that price for comfort.
So I am making a practice of re-engaging wholeheartedly. Lots of gentle and firm boundaries around the internet for this gal.
While it may not seem like a big deal, I realize that what is driving my strange behavior is some shaky, tender fear. And rather than minimize the fear or get rigid (no more yoga tops! jeez you are a weirdo!), I intend to respect and honor the fear and step into my larger vision.
This will require support, which I have asked for and am receiving. This will require more deep rest, since I am consciously limiting the pseudo-rest of internet and other shadow comforts.
Most of all, this will require courage and a willingness to be with what arises.
I’d love to hear from you:
How and where do you notice yourself disengaging?
How is that working in your life?
Is there anywhere that Life asking you to be more open, more vulnerable?
And finally, are you willing to put down the armor of distraction?
Will you join me in the wholehearted, imperfect practice of the present moment?