Today’s practice was utterly brilliant, and probably my favourite Revolution practice so far. The focus was on stillness, and Adriene asked us to consider whether we run from discomfort. My answer to that is generally a big fat “yes”, which is one of the reasons why cultivating a regular yoga practice has the potential to have such a huge impact on my life.
My BDD tends to manifest itself as extreme discomfort in my own skin, which produces a set of sensations that are very difficult to describe. It’s as if my skin is itching and crawling, and the only way to stop it would be to pull the skin off. That sounds gruesome and drastic, but it’s the best way I can describe it. On top of that, there is physically sensing the specific “imperfections” which my mind tells me are there, but which others assure me are verging on non-existent when I ask for an opinion or reassurance. Again, the sensation is slightly alien, as if this particular thing were part of me, but not really a part of me. (I realise how weird this sounds – I did say it was difficult to describe!)
Anyway, in that context, stillness and sitting with discomfort are not things that come naturally or easily. Spending a long time in a particular pose can lead to intense focus on and judgment of a particular part of the body, simply because of the way the body is positioned, or how one part of the body is touching another. Today, however, something clicked and I was able to do it. I enjoyed spending time in the poses and I even found myself enjoying any discomfort I felt, for example in my arms during the half warrior poses. I felt like the regular, daily routine of coming to the mat, trying to focus on my breath and on my body as a whole unit, and acknowledging and accepting where I am today, was starting to take me to a place of calm and kindness that is completely new to me.
I fully accept that it won’t be like that every day. There will be times when I’m frustrated, times when I feel awful, and times when I have to work really hard to keep myself in a judgment-free present moment. What today’s practice showed me is that change is possible. I genuinely still feel quite emotional about it, and I’m excited to see where things go from here.