There’s a story by Paulo Coelho about a butterfly and it’s struggle for 2 weeks of contorting itself to expand its casing by beating it’s wings against it, thereby strengthening it’s wings resulting in it’s ability to fly once it finally emerges as a beautiful butterfly. I guess I’m a little slow as it took me 43 years, 11 months, and 18 days to emerge.
As a child I was about average, but since I started really young, I was quite a good swimmer. By age 8 I had qualified to take Life Guard Training, 7 years too early to do anything about it. Then life happened. Mom got divorced and eventually remarried. She got a job and an advanced degree so school became of the utmost importance and sports just faded away. I ran in Junior High but after a shattered foot the year before I kept spraining my ankle (my Physical Therapy had only consisted of “here’s your crutches”) so my season just sort of limped away. I didn’t really try any sports in High School as the ankle was still an issue.
Time really does fly when you get busy. I worked a lot of ridiculous hours, two long distance relocations, four continuous years of ankle surgeries and eventually three automimmune diseases, and I was in trouble. Unhealthy, sick, and chronically exhausted I was in serious trouble. After a zillion Docs, lots of bad info, some medical intervention and a lot of yoga I knew I needed more balance, and I needed to build my strength and stamina back. So I started running. In July, in the South, in very hilly terrain. It was tough. Really tough. Have you ever felt the need to change was so important that you’d suffer for it?
Then my first race came as the runner for my relay in a Sprint Triathalon. The e-mail, dated September 9th, 2013, called me an Athlete. That day my life changed. I have since run 5K’s, 10k’s and 15K’s. I have been part of Relay teams. I have run two Half Marathons and have two more coming up this year. I have swam a full iron distance open water swim (2.4 miles) this last Summer. I am about to sign up for my first 70.3 Half Ironman Triathalon for next year. I am an Athlete.
The one constant through all this…since I was 16, is my yoga. It has changed and grown like a fine wine. Yoga has become the basis on which everything else I do stands, it is really my bedrock foundation. After massages during the day I add in some stretches and do some poses that are restorative. Before runs it’s my dynamic warm up, after a run it becomes my balance and hamstring relief. Yoga’s breathing (pranayama) helps my swim. Holding poses (alignment sequences) helps my endurance, my focus, and my stamina. Doing a class takes me out of my mind and into the present to be mindful and let go. Teaching a class let’s me experience this all as a witness. It’s the best gift, in that It’s grown with me from the crazy poses of pure power, to now helping me sit in meditation. My wings are strong now as I have become a butterfly.