Disher and “Top Doc” Carrie Terrell on Going vs. Not Going to Yoga

When I went to yoga versus when I skipped yoga

Jan 13, 2022


Ok, I admit I’m a yoga convert and dedicant. It’s been 22 years since I went to my first community class in a random Minneapolis abandoned school gym thinking I would be told I was too fat to join. Yes, it changed my life, my brain, my outlook. I’m still fat, but healthily so, and
my tendency towards personality disorder essentially obliterated. But I still fall off my ownwagon. And there’s no need – now that my teachers have youtube videos or zoom options there are really no excuses. As my classes reopen to in-person I remember the great joy of sharing the practice with others but still — sometimes I don’t go.

When I do yoga, regularly, my life is concentrically brighter. I look and feel better in my clothes. I stand straighter. My neck is longer. My low back doesn’t hurt. I can easily squat and bend down to pick up the bobby pin under the radiator, the drifting ziplock baggie, the escaping dust bunny. I feel strong. I am strong – I can do the things strong people do. If I do sit in front of a screen I am mindful of my body. I sit in poses rather than slouching. I don’t nibble incessantly. I choose how I am spending my time rather than letting time slip away. The stress of my frontline healthcare worker job doesn’t erode my desire to work and serve. I sleep better. I can meditate and sit quietly and feel safe and secure. I remember I don’t have to do in order to be. I know that
nothing is permanent, finished, perfect, nor complete and that is ok. Not just ok, but I become joyfully content with the impermanence/imperfection.

When I skip yoga – it compounds like bad interest on a credit card. I beat myself up (not yogic), I eat to console (not yogic), I pretend to compensate with a walk (ok, not horrible), I get the laundry/cleaning/emails/projects done (maybe). I ache, I cannot bend in the ways I’ve become accustomed, it feels like a stretch when I turn to check the lane beside me, I sleep poorly with my
shoulders jammed up into my ears, I feel frumpy. I am restless, discontent, malcontent, and “just want things to be done/clean/perfect/up to par.” My work makes me depressed, burned out, and seek retirement. I’m disagreeable, irritated (ok, sometimes downright mean), judgmental. I forget to stay on my own mat. I don’t even try to meditate.

In our house, we are fond of saying, “I want to have gone to yoga,” when we are debating going or not – even if going means heading into the yoga room with the ipad. Yes, I have many other things to do. Yes, I work a lot of hours and that does limit when and how I can go. Yes, I cannot turn off my brain reminding me of all these things. Yet, I know, deep inside if I go I will be happy I went. In gratitude to my teachers who are there, waiting, expecting, knowing I’ll come.
Carrie Ann Terrell, MD, FACOG


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Shaila Cunningham

Shaila Cunningham