Leaf Blowers and Yoga at Home

I mean the whole thing about meditation and yoga is about connecting to the higher part of yourself, and then seeing that every living thing is connected in some way. Gillian Anderson


Six months after my second and last cancer surgery, I walked into a yoga class at my local Y. I had never done yoga before in my life, but, by the end of the class, I was smitten. That was over a year and a half ago and I still faithfully attend that class twice a week. I wish I could say the same about my home yoga practice.

Before we built a small den off the back of our house last year I really didn’t have space to do yoga at home. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to design the room to accommodate my practice. The sound system is iPod ready and there is a soft rug on the floor. I deliberately designed a coffee table out of three stools, so I could easily move them out of the way for my mat. I was set.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I kept up with my daily practice. Although I have the desire, for some reason I haven’t made the time for the past several months. I have a home office and tend to start working before I’ve even eaten breakfast. And once I start, I find it hard to stop. Recently, the few times I’ve successfully done yoga at home were the result of a firm resolve to walk past the computer and into the den first, before I got sucked into the vortex of work.

I don’t know why I’ve been resistant, because I love yoga at home. It’s just my body and my thoughts in my space. I go at my own pace, doing the poses I want to do. It’s a true pleasure. I feel both energized and calmer when I walk out of there. It’s definitely “me time.”

Yesterday I made the effort to prioritize yoga. I moved the stools, laid out my mat and started warming up. I was coming out of a downward dog and into a lunge when it happened: a leaf blower suddenly roared into life, completely startling me. I looked out the window, saw the head of someone standing right outside and fell out of my lunge and down onto my thumb, bending it backwards. I couldn’t believe I sprained it – it was my first ever yoga injury.

I live in suburbia – the land of the leaf blower. Between work, family life and what’s going on outside my windows, there are noises and distractions all around me. That’s why I usually don’t do yoga at home in the first place  – too many other things competing for my attention. Now the sound of a leaf blower actually knocked me out of a pose and onto the floor.

Although it’s not a living thing, I’m trying to see the connection between me and that leaf blower. Maybe it’s just a reminder that there will always be distractions so I need to see them as excuses rather than reasons for the choices I make. If I want a home yoga practice, I have to make the time despite the leaf blowers all around me.

I’m going back into my den today to enjoy my yoga practice. My thumb still hurts, but I realize I used my “injury” as validation for quitting yoga early and getting back to work. Ironically, I kept putting off yoga yesterday, while I was trying to figure out what to post today. I finally gave up, knowing I would be better off giving my mind a yoga rest. Who could have predicted a leaf blower would show up and give me the answer?

Discovering yoga is one of my most cherished gifts of cancer. That doesn’t mean, however, that I always take the time to honor its presence in my life. Do you struggle with prioritizing your gifts of cancer? 

Survival > Existence,


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