But the main thing it's helping me with - something I worked hard on today - is listening to my body. The body is very clear about what it cannot do. There are some things that, despite that first hitch, I can stretch into, open into. But there are also times when the body just flat-out says "Oh, fuck that shit. Fuck it right in the ear."
And the choice I have at that moment is to stubborn out and push myself farther, or to listen. And today, I was listening.
This is not saying "Don't keep trying." Oh, when I could, I kept trying. My balance issues were in full force today, but I tried. I tried tree pose - which I can totally do on an ordinary day - must've been ten times. Wobble, wobble, foot comes down. Wobble, wobble, stumble. Yep. Finally, I finished it out in Mountain pose while the others were doing Tree, just going with the hand movements.
But.... I think it was Half-Moon where my body just said "Oh fuck no." Again, something I sometimes have to problem with. But I'd been off yoga for a week and a half thanks to Spring Break and being crazybusy... between that and just the muscles generally being unhappy and a bit overworked (this instructor is more about "hold this pose for a long time", whereas my regular one is very much about the flow), it just was not going to happen. Very clear message from my body: "We cannot complete this maneuver at this time. Try again later. Like tomorrow."
I did not stubborn out the rebellion. I let myself fall into Child's Pose, head on my mat, arms outstretched, like Tiala in the Grove. I let myself relax, melt. I let myself breathe through the resistance.
It is okay to take a break. It is permitted. It is encouraged.
I stretched through my arms, took stock. And when they changed to something my muscles could currently do, I moved with them. An agreement with my body. "Okay, we can work at your pace. We have to do the work. But we can work at your pace."
Not fighting. Teamwork.
Now I go treat my body to a healthy lunch. And carrot juice. It did well today.