Well into summer break, I think we all tend to get a little restless—let me rephrase that. If you are like me and aren’t off doing some hardcore internship or fulfilling your wanderlust dreams abroad, then you may get a little restless.
I realized after about a week of feeling somewhat off that it was my classic case of “i’m bored”, something that had periodically plagued me my entire life. This time last summer, I was spending hours on end each day with my body in mind numbing positions as I worked to complete my 200 hr yoga teacher training.
The studio was heated for half of the day, even though the natural temperature outside would be in the 90’s or 100’s as the day went on, and air conditioning did not exist. My instructor regularly made me cry, and my body cried as well. Several times, I almost gave up on my hard work, my passion for the practice, and my goal of teaching yoga in Berkeley when I arrived. I made it through and completed the training, but it left a sour taste in my mouth for the activity that I cherished so dearly just weeks before. I had Yoga Training PTSD.
I didn’t do much yoga during my first semester at Berkeley. I tried many times to get back into it, and even briefly held a position at the front desk at one of my favorite studios, but it wasn’t enough. Every time, images of the training studio flashed in my head, and the negative feelings that came with it. Yoga was an important aspect of my routine in high school that kept me mentally able to handle my workload, and physically energetic; this part of my life was now almost completely gone. My grades showed it, and I definitely felt it.
It was today, with hours of watching Netflix ahead of me, that I decided to look at yoga schedules for the day. I was restless, and I knew that something was missing. Maybe that something was my yoga practice. I found a 4:30pm class that day and decided to give it a go. “Arrive 15 minutes early, please. Doors will be locked promptly at the start of the class.”
Before I knew it, it was 4:18pm and I was just hopping in my car, “Damn! I was supposed to be there three minutes ago,” I said to myself. I contemplated how long it would take me to get to Downtown Berkeley and my mission began. It was 4:26pm when I finally made it to Shattuck Ave, and remembered the difficulty that parking would pose. Luckily, I found a parking spot right where I needed it, hopped out to feed the meter and ran down the street with my purple yoga mat bag banging my hip.
The door was open; I made it inside. I found the perfect space for my mat and began to ease a bit. The class began, and the instructor gave us words of forewarning, “This class may present much intensity. You may use this opportunity to challenge yourself and push yourself to those limits if you are ready. You may also take breaks whenever you need them. Honor your body.”
I thought of the state of restlessness that brought me to this place and decided that I was ready for a period of intensity. The highs and lows of yoga that I love. Fierce moments that cause sweat to drip all over so I can hardly hold myself in downward dog and my body sparkles. The ability to take a moment to breathe whenever I need. After a self-loving break, I am ready to get back up and do it all over again. I was ready to be back on my mat. I am strong enough for my next classes to hit me like a ton of bricks. I am confident enough to apply for that internship that was just out of reach before.
I am consistently asked why I put so much on the metaphorical plate that is my life, and the answer is often elusive, but sometimes I remember: I love a challenge and I get a little restless. I look around my college campus and see hundreds of other students who love a challenge, and just might be a bit restless as well. The thrill of testing limits and working towards something is what makes up day to day life. We may not always succeed, but that’s not really failure, it’s just a rest in child’s pose. It’s just inhales and exhales, small breaks in the flow. Before we know it, our muscles will be sore again, our brain will hurt, we will have just mastered a new pose, gotten an A in the class, sweat dripping everywhere, tired as all hell, but with a grin so big it can’t be controlled. You have to sweat if you want to sparkle.
Elena Stacy writes a weekly column on finding confidence and managing stress on the way to adulthood.