For most of my adult life, I have been sleep deprived, and I know I'm not alone. Our society thrives on Starbucks coffees, sugar-filled energy drinks, and burning-the-candle-from-both-ends types of lifestyles. Over committing, over promising, and under delivering. That's the American dream! ...Right?
There was a period of my life, mostly from my late teens to mid twenties, when I never slept. When my life was one big party and the only way I made it to the next party was by napping. In college, I thrived on procrastinating my school work by pulling all nighters. I once wrote a 25 page paper on the night before it was due from 1am-4am. I got a B+. It's what I did, and really, it's all I knew.
Although I have always really enjoyed sleeping, there was a long period of time where I wasn't getting much of it. As a result, I was sick a lot. I regularly felt terrible because I was always tired and always sick. I was so sick that I actually had my tonsils removed at the age of twenty because I was getting strep throat so often, my tonsils had swelled so large that they were touching to the point that I was having trouble swallowing and breathing. It was as painful and gross as it sounds.
Whenever anyone (and "anyone" was usually my mom) questioned my lifestyle and lack of sleep, I would always respond the same way: "I'll sleep when I die."
The Struggle is Very Real
This year has been an interesting one. Interesting is probably the only word that really describes all of the highs and all of the lows that I have experienced. There has been a whole lot of loss and a surprisingly balance of gains. Some moments have been traumatic and depressing, while others have been wonderful and amazing.
Truthfully, I am still processing everything, so I’m not here to write about it. Instead, I’m here to tell you that my body is fucked up. I’m here to tell you that my practice has suffered. I’m here to tell you that I have contemplated quitting teaching yoga all together on several occasions this year.
There was a period of time this year where I didn’t practice at all for over two months. My body didn’t allow it, and my mind missed it. When I finally got back to my mat after my time away, it was like my first time ever practicing. My hamstrings and calves felt as tight as they did during my first year of practicing yoga. My upper body and core felt weak. And my bandhas? Well, let’s just say they took a long term vacation and haven’t returned yet.