Tonight as I was getting my boots on to go to yoga class I kept tipping over and missing my foot. Josh laughed at me and said “You’re going to yoga class and you cant even put your boots on?” I say that to show you just how inflexible and unbalanced I am. And I did go to yoga.
I was encouraged to go to a yoga class by a friend. I figured, It’s yoga, how hard can it be? Then answer is freaking hard. That first class, I laid on my mat and cried. I cried so hard I had to blow my nose in my shirt. I could not even hold myself up in the most basic poses. My arms shook, my legs gave out and i could not even sit up straight. And as I laid there sobbing I was saying over and over to myself: “You are horrible! You are the worst! You are weak!” And so on. So the cycle just continued. I would try a pose, collapse into a heap, cry and tell myself that I sucked. And then at the very end of yoga class, about the last 10 minutes, you are instructed to lay on your back and the lights go out and soft music plays and you just lay. And in that 10 minutes, I became a new woman. I laid there and thought “You did it!” “You stayed!” Suddenly just staying in the class, surviving the emotional and physical agony was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
I decided to try again. This time with a Yoga 101 class, which came with 2 weeks of unlimited yoga. I tried a few basic classes and some restorative classes. It was going well. A few of the basic classes left me sitting in the car afterwards trying not to puke. After 2 weeks and maybe 6 classes I decided to buy a punch card and commit long term. Except, i learned a few days later, that during that class I broke my hand. Yup. I was so bad at yoga, I broke my hand just trying to hold myself in a basic pose.
The following are images of poses I cannot do:
8 weeks later, I jumped back in. Focusing on the restorative classes. Focusing on the meditative aspects of it. And even though classes continued to be hard, I would leave feeling, well, restored. I couldn’t really understand why this was working. Why I hated so much of it, yet felt so good at the same time.
Tonight, my teacher set her theme for the class as awareness. She always has great themes and we set our own intention and start class. And let me pause here to talk about how even the simplest part of class sitting cross legged at the beginning is one of the hardest things for me to do. It is so uncomfortable and you are supposed to just sit there and breathe, but I sit there and think how uncomfortable I am, and usually miss the entire theme and intention setting because I am trying not to slouch.
So I set my intention as awareness. (Usually my intention is survival, I kid you not). And it was a harder class for me tonight. A few things I just couldn’t do. And I am okay with that. And my teacher started talking about how in yoga you become aware of how you handle learning about your body. How you handle limits of your body. And I don’t handle it well. But at the end of class, as I push through all the poses, I end up feeling good. Proud. And it is like that in life. I get frustrated easily. I want to give up often. I push feelings away, I am not aware. I hide.
But I am learning in yoga that pushing through is the only option. It is okay to use props, take breaks, lay in child’s pose for the entire hour, but you show up and you stay. And you do what you can do. So even when 90 percent of the class can bend in half and do the splits and I can only touch my knees, I am doing my best and showing up and staying.
So I will keep showing up. I may never touch my toes. But I will be there. Doing.