Tonight was my fourth yoga class in as many days. The class package I bought a few months ago is expiring in a few days and while I will lose a couple classes I'm making the most of the days my calendar allows.
During last night's class, I accomplished something I have never been able to do: I extended my legs straight while holding onto my big toe with my "yogi peace fingers." This is a big deal for me since I have majorly tight hips and hamstrings. Remember, how long it took me last year to touch my toes without bending my knees? I straightened both legs (not at the same time) in spite of the pain I felt. I got there by "playing the edge"- the yoga concept of pushing oneself outside one's comfort zone, but not so far as to cause injury.
After five years of yoga practice, I've come to expect epiphanies to occur on a somewhat regular basis. Tonight did not disappoint.
I've heard my teachers tell the class to move "toward" a pose on many occasions, but tonight the word lit up like a neon sign in my mind. I was reminded that each time I am on my mat I will have different experiences. Some days I'll be bendier than others. Some days I will have to use a block to reach the floor while other days I'll be able to reach the floor with out assistance. And either way works. The concept of TOWARD grants permission to be between where you are and where you want to be.
So when she told us to work TOWARD a thigh parallel to the floor in a bent knee pose or and arms TOWARD straight with hands clasped, the thought came to me: getting there (wherever there is) is only part of the deal. Doing the work counts, even when the pose is modified. It's not a less-than proposition. You're still doing yoga, still doing the work.
Off the mat, the TOWARD model is a companion to this in-between stage I've been contemplating in the last few weeks. It applies in every facet of my life. Working TOWARD paying down my debt is an important step in becoming debt-free. It won't happen overnight. And that's okay.
So what that I'm stuck in part two of my novel? It counts that I continue to meet with people who can give me context and insight into the experiences I will eventually write into my characters' lives. All of this research and contemplation will serve me well when I return to regular writing sessions.
The same goes for the monster jungle I have growing in my backyard. I will get it tamed one day. Hiring a landscape architect to draw up plans that may not be implemented for a few years or at least in very small increments is still moving me TOWARD my goal of outdoor serenity.
The lesson on the mat tonight that so beautifully transfers off the mat is that moving in the direction we want to be headed in is an important element of the entire journey, and should not be overlooked or underestimated. We are not off course (even when it feels like it) when we are moving TOWARD our goals. There is something really satisfying about having to work hard and see the growth, improvement, success in increments.