I was never that flexible growing up. Even to this day, I’m not that flexible. Maybe I’m stretching incorrectly or I’m not stretching far enough, but I have been, and probably will always be, somewhat rigid.
I’ve also never really been that flexible in other ways. I tend to stick to a schedule and plan so far in advance that I have the next three steps of something already planned out. I do this so that nothing can go wrong, but also so that when something does go wrong, I know what to do. It’s rooted in a deep anxiety of the future and of change — anxiety that has caused me intense stomach pains and a constant feeling of distress. When something does go wrong, this distress gets worse.
That all changed this year when I started doing yoga. I promised myself that I would write about anything, but never yoga. But I really couldn’t explain why this school year has been so good to me without writing about yoga. In yoga, being flexible is key.
When I first heard this, and when I just typed this out, I honestly could not have thought anything was more cheesy or ridiculous. But in one of the hardest weeks of my life here at UNC, I resorted to yoga to be the place where I centered myself and just took an hour out of my day to know that my body and mind are capable of something outside of school.
Even when I fell out of a pose, even when I did a pose incorrectly, and even when I looked around to see everyone doing a pose better than I could, I needed to get back to staying grounded in myself. I had to be flexible, know my state, and know that it also wasn’t the end of the world when something went wrong. Over the past few months, I’ve seen my anxiety decrease significantly and I have stopped planning out of fear. I’ve seen my body strength improve, while also seeing my mental health finally take a break from years of constant angst.