Each summer since I have been at Loyola, I have concocted a “Summer Bucket List.” The list includes those activities that I always wanted to do, but didn’t have the time because of class and clinical internship. One of the items on this year’s Summer Bucket List was to take up yoga. I have heard many great things about the benefits of yoga from fellow students, professors, clients, and even my doctor and I finally decided to give it a try.
My local gym had daily classes so I picked a morning one, showed up early, sat down on my newly purchased yoga mat, and prepared for fifty minutes of bliss.
It started out so well, a few stretches here, a few twists and turns there, and soothing music playing in the background. Then we really began, and it was not pretty. My “Downward Facing Dog” died mid pose, my “Warrior Stance” was AWOL, and I won’t even mention the horror which was my “Pigeon Pose.” In fact, with the few exceptions of the “Mountain” and “Chair” poses, the relaxing morning of yoga was looking to be an ego-bursting, reality-bashing exercise in frustration. Then, the instructor led us into “Roll Like a Ball”. It turns out that in this I was a natural. My technique was perfect and I was able to balance mid roll on every occasion to my surprise and delight.
In some ways, my first year of clinical internship was very similar to my yoga experience. In the introductory phase, I approached clinicals with not only anticipation, but to be honest, also a slight sense of untested confidence. After some initial great sessions, I started working with the “real” clients and often felt like I did in yoga, wondering what in the world was going on. But, just like yoga, I stuck with it and improvement started to occur. Thankfully, there were “Roll Like a Ball” moments when there was a significant breakthrough with a client, or an effective treatment plan was written, or a highly productive supervisory session was held. These are the moments that you look forward to, but the other arduous moments are just as important for our growth and development as counselors.
I have no doubt that, if I continue, mastering a true “Tree” pose will be in my future, but until then I will keep showing up to yoga class. Each day I try to make the best of that time.