One morning this week, I was up early enough to catch Priscilla’s Yoga Stretches on my local PBS station. Nostalgia washed over me. When we first moved to Lake Lure 22 years ago, we lived in the original house while building our new house. This was a small house, with just enough room on the living room floor for me to follow along with Priscilla every morning, doing her yoga stretches.
It was shocking how difficult some of her stretches were for me. I had just left my banking career, where I had put all self-care aside, believing that if I gave work my all, somehow all would be well. Except for me. I wasn’t well. Plus, I thought it was too late for me to do any good for myself. I was already in my 40’s! Way over the hill, in my mind. Anyway, there was not much else on TV that early in the mornings, so I started going through her stretches, day by day and inch by inch, as she would say.
After the last program of the series aired, I envisioned that she would have filmed a new series that would help take me to the next level of yoga stretches. Instead, PBS started the original series over. At first, I felt a little cheated. I wanted to advance! But since there was nothing else on, and I was beginning to feel the benefits of a good stretching routine to start my day, I stuck with it.
Soon, I discovered that the repetition had value, as she reviewed the basics over and over again. Each time I did a stretch that I thought I “knew” how to do, I would find another level of awareness and a little more space inside.
I went through that same series of programs several times the first couple of years that we lived here. Since then, I’ve developed and modified my own series of warmups and yoga stretches that I have done consistently every morning for the last 22 years. When I turned the program on this week, I remembered that episode and some of the difficulties I had in doing a spinal twist the first time.
I also reflected on where I might be now had I NOT done these simple stretches every day. The simple repetition of basic movements has helped me stay flexible, balanced and strong in ways that I’m sure would not have happened otherwise. When this awareness hit me, I was filled with gratitude for Priscilla, who took the time to film this series all those years ago and for the PBS producers, who have continued to air the series for all these years. It was another reminder that we are not walking through this life alone, and that we receive help from many people along the way. It also reminded me that the basics ARE the work. Every “advanced” thing we do starts with the building blocks.
Who has helped you in small but meaningful ways on your journey? What have you been waiting to start? How can you begin to relish the basics, even in the areas where you do advanced work?