Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dog And Butterfly

This past week I celebrated an anniversary, a rather unusual one, but nonetheless one I am proud of.

November 14 was my one-year anniversary of practicing yoga.

Like I said, kind of an unusual one. I’m sure some were expecting something of a more substantive nature; a marriage or the like. No, nothing like that. This one is far more impactful on my life.

I’ve written often about my yoga experience and my Yoga Hero, my instructor Lee. And she gets embarrassed when I do so. In the past I have professed my love for her…which embarrasses her. I’ve professed my deep respect for her empathic, gentle nature…which embarrasses her. Now that I’ve gotten to know her better, I understand why – she keeps saying, “It’s not me, it’s the yoga. Thank the yoga.”

I see that now. Much of how Lee is is due to what she has learned as a yogi for years. Now that I have a year I am seeing it. The message is starting to sink in. Being a practicing yogi does instill a feeling of strength and calm, of confidence and humility. Of other amazing dichotomies. I get it now.

But I still love and respect her. I gave her an anniversary card the other night, and I told her there are only two women in the world who I will do whatever they tell me to do with no questions asked – my mom and her. She laughed at that.

Lee plays music at each class. A delightful collection of songs which are upbeat yet calming. Music to contort to, as it were. One song that she almost always plays is Dog and Butterfly, by the band Heart. It’s a wonderful story about a dog seeing the butterfly floating above and wanting to try to fly, but alas, cannot, because he is, after all, a dog. Dogs don’t fly. But yet he still tries. He then rolls back down on the warm soft ground laughing as he tries -

See the dog and butterfly 
Up in the air he like to fly 
Dog and butterfly, below he had to try 
He roll back down to the warm soft ground 
With a little tear in his eye 
He had to try, he had to try 
Dog and butterfly

Dog and Butterfly.

Me and Lee.

In yoga I am that dog trying to catch that elusive butterfly. I see what Lee does with her poses and I really try to emulate them, every one of them. Like I said, I will do anything she tells me to do. But some of them I just cannot physically do - yet. But I try. And then I fall over on the mat. And I laugh.

There is no ‘right and wrong’ with yoga. By simply showing up you have already succeeded, since you have shown your intent and honor to yourself. It took me months to understand that, as I went through my Alpha Male phase of doing every single damn pose, and cursing myself for the inability to do them. I got frustrated. There were times I thought of quitting. But I never did. And I never will.

Like the dog chasing the butterfly.

It is in the dog’s nature, and it cannot be removed.

Thank you, Lee. 

And, just to keep you from being embarrassed, I also thank the yoga.

No comments: