|Freya Hoffmeister (Photo credit: eriksjos)|
Freya's year-long paddle included encounters with sharks, crocodiles and stinging jellyfish, crazy currents and surf, fatigue, seasickness and unpleasant rashes. It was an impressive journey by a woman who never doubted she would be able to complete it. While I admired her tenacity, I had trouble, and I believe the author did too, with Freya's lack of humility. But, when it comes to people who have both the physical strength to accomplish amazing feats and the organizational skills to make them happen, I tend towards a bit of un-yogini-like envy.
My adventurous heart tends to reach further than my body wants to go. When I announced my latest battle with germs on Facebook, one of my friends was quick to comment, "Why are you always sick?!? Between your diet and physical exercise, you should be the healthiest person on Charley Hill!!" That, unfortunately, has been my life-long question and one that, despite years of work towards wellness, remains unanswered. What makes me so susceptible to upper-respiratory-system-attacking viruses is a mystery. So is the extreme fatigue and depression that comes every time I ramp up my physical activity beyond "easy," which, while allowing me to build endurance, means I will never run as fast as I'd like to, or faster than a turtle.
During her year of extreme kayaking, Freya Hoffmeister never had to spend a few days in her tent on the beach nursing a head cold. It's possible that the author decided not to mention it, but I find it hard to believe he would leave out an illness when he was so careful to mention every time she puked from seasickness and how she managed bowel movements without leaving her boat. While my heart longs for an adventure as amazing as Freya's (although I'd be happy without the crocodiles), I have to resign myself to knowing my body my may never be up for it.
So what do I do? I get back on my yoga mat. It was yoga that taught me to accept my body as it is. It was my asana practice that got me to the place where I could start running and not stop for 13.1 miles, which is pretty darn good even if I never break out of the back of the pack. It is yoga that reminds me to rest when I need to, that it's okay to drop into Balasana or take a nap. And it's yoga that pulls the rug out from under my ego and shows me the way to be humble and grateful.
Perhaps I will have to experience the grandest of adventures in the pages of a book, and perhaps my practice includes sitting with the envy I feel on the way to self-acceptance. Perhaps that inner exploration is the greatest adventure of all.