Is Your “Check Engine” Light On?

The “check engine” light in our Subaru has been a sometimes off, sometimes on reality over the past few years. At first, each time the light came on we scheduled a maintenance appointment — during which the auto mechanic often found something totally unrelated to the engine wrong with our car =) — had the “check engine” sensor turned off, only to have it come on again a month or so later. So, I started to ignore it.


The “check engine” light has been on again for months now.


As we approach the end of 2017, I’m looking back over my journal, my notes, my thoughts, my energy, etc. etc. So many good things happening — I’m enjoying teaching yoga at Love Yoga, I’m back at Lafayette Elementary with amazing teachers & kids, the WELS Adventure Program finished its 4th session with 10 young graduates, the Lafayette School Garden grew again this year, & my work with Canine Partners for Life at SCI-Greene continues to inspire me. Jim & I got to take an awesome few weeks together with our fur-kids Baxter & Tortilla, camping & traveling through New England this summer, & also got to visit my grandparents in Illinois for Thanksgiving.


Check Engine?


In addition, I continue to notice “little things” about my energy levels & mind state. I’m more wired yet tired mentally this year, maybe the past few years, than I have been in the past … even with all my practices to counteract such things =). I’m not getting as much physically strenuous exercise in recent years … often feeling too exhausted to rouse myself for a weekend hike or kayaking with Jim. I’m prone to anxious thoughts, worries about things that haven’t happened, & always trying to figure out the perfect thing to do / say … all of which are brought to light when I’m overtaxed.


Check Engine.


But I push through — I’m supposed to be able to handle what’s going on in my life. I’ve done it for years, through jobs, family upheavals, changes in physical health, moves across the country, & other chosen or unexpected changes in life. Buck up, deal with it, & make it happen, E. Here’s where some Ayurveda dosha knowledge is interesting to me — being a Pitta-Vata type, when I’m in balance I am energetic & creative, confident & loyal to people & passions, & I get shit done.


And Pitta-Vata types like me (maybe like you) burn out easily. We LOVE what we do, we want to say YES to it all because the program, the person’s need, the idea is awesome or somewhere we can make a difference. I/We keep pushing & pushing because that’s what we’re SUPPOSED to do. We have high expectations — & yet when out of balance, we judge ourselves harshly when we don’t live up to perfection, and/or get spacy, jumping from thing to thing to thing in search of deeper meaning.




So here we are in December, & I finally got time to make an appointment with a yoga teacher whom I greatly respect & have learned so much from. It took a few months for us to coordinate our schedules, & when we met last week I had a list of questions about my yoga practice, what I should do next in my teaching, about my shoulder injury … because that’s what I do, I figure things out & get shit done ;).


My teacher asked me, “So what’s going on in your life right now?”


I began to talk about my & Jim’s respective jobs, about my yoga teaching … & then started talking about the funeral we attended for a dear older friend the day before, about the death of another dear friend a few weeks before, & about Jim’s grandmother’s death the month before. I haven’t experienced death so closely … & in such succession … in my time on earth yet. Health scares in my own family have my internal anxiety showing itself. Jim is traveling to Israel in January, which is a GRAND opportunity for him … yet I find myself unable to sleep for worry over news coming out of the Middle East.


I talked about feeling tired & a bit “down” this year or so … like I’m running out of gas. I found myself tearing up, trying to hold it together (because I’m supposed to, right). All these heavy things coming up … which I didn’t connect … from a simple question “How’s it going?” … from someone who’s coming from her own inner space to listen. I’ve thought something is wrong with me, that I’m not hacking life like I used to.




This time with my teacher didn’t go as I expected, yet was just what I needed. Simply being affirmed, “that’s a lot to deal with Erica, & it’s ok to be human” was a relief. A big sigh & tearful release — a “thank God I’m not losing it.” As we discussed how to move forward, she didn’t analyze poses or give me a specific physical practice … we talked about my food choices (eat more, & take in more nourishing foods), I received a meditation practice, & we discussed ways to use my teaching to balance & re-ignite inspiration.


I left feeling exhausted after our session, yet in an oddly uplifted way … does that even make sense? I sat in my car & let my body deflate for a few moments … deep deeeeep breaths … what a relief to let go. Then I put the keys in the ignition & turned on the car.


No “Check Engine” light.


Seriously, you can laugh … or think I’m making it up … because I did … amidst my tears I noticed the light was off & just about fell over laughing.


Take a moment, a week, a year (like I am) to check your engine. Mine may come back on now & then, just as a gentle reminder. Let’s keep each other updated on how it’s going =).



Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

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