Monday, January 25, 2016

Keep In This Fight

Because I had to work on Saturday, I was lucky enough to have this afternoon off. I knew exactly what I was going to do with my time: Laundry, grocery shop, go for a run, and do yoga. I had been in the habit of running once a week for several months, but once it got cold outside, that came to a bit of a standstill. I was also doing yoga pretty regularly, but due to schedule conflicts I haven't made it to a class in a while.

So with the sun shining and a yoga class booked at a small studio, (my gym doesn't have Yoga on Monday nights, and I really needed to stretch), I headed out. Of course, by the time I got to the running route I had seeked out on the Internet, the sun went away. But I didn't let that stop me. I ran my three miles. A little slower than normal, but I managed to run it under 40 minutes, which was my goal with the colder weather, lots of layers and the unknown route.

I had just enough time to sit in a little cafe and relax and catch my breath before yoga. As I mentioned, I had never visited this studio before, but I decided to give it a try today. I walked in to the space and was greeted by the owners, who took my information and showed me around. I peeled off my layers from the run and found a space on the floor. Although, I must admit, I was quite overwhelmed. It was a really tiny space, everyone seemed to know one another quite well, and the heater was on in the yoga room. I don't do well in heat, and I immediately started to sweat, and to worry that I wasn't going to be able to do the class.

The yoga instructor began by introducing me, and then asked the rest of the class "when was the last time you walked into a brand new place? Were you nervous, anxious?". She must have seen those emotions on me. We began our class. Now, the class was titled "slow burn" and I signed up because I figured it would be a slower, gentle class. I'm not very wise on yoga terms. For the record, slow does not equal easy.

I've taken a handful of yoga classes...including a few that had the heat on, like this class tonight. But this class was, hands down, the most challenging class to date. Our instructor really pushed us, calling out for tough poses that demanded balance, strength, and flexibility. There was one pose in particular that I simply couldn't get. She came over to me and told me not to think about it, to just do it. But of course, me being me, I couldn't NOT think about it. I didn't complete the pose. But I tried. With shaky legs.

Then our instructor declared it was going to be a "wall" class. This meant that many of our poses used the wall as a prop. I knew this was going to be a challenge for me because I have weak hamstrings. Plus, I had just run three miles. I was right. It was a challenge. My legs did not want to straighten out on the wall, they were constantly shaking, and I lost my balance quite a few times. I felt embarrassed. I mean- I'm strong! I lift weights! Why can't I do these poses? But just as I was thinking that, the instructor said "yoga is a time for you to try new things, and to laugh at yourself while you're doing them. You don't have to be perfect". With that in mind, I pushed through. I wasn't super successful and I had to go back into child's pose when my legs couldn't take it anymore. But damn it, I tried.

When class was ending, the instructor said, to all of us "I bet you don't feel nervous anymore. There's no more room for jitters". She was right. For as anxious and overwhelmed as I had been when I first walked in, all of those feelings were gone. I had left them on the mat. Where they belong.

I'm telling you this story for a reason. I know no one out there is dying to hear about my yoga escapades.

For the past week or so, I have been struggling with this uncomfortable emotion of feeling "not good enough". I can pin point where this came from, or even why, it's just something I've been feeling. In this Yoga class tonight, I KNEW I wouldn't be very good, and I was right. And guess what? It felt amazing. It was OKAY to not be good enough. Because I tried, shaky legs and all. And if you ask me, that's what counts. That we try our best to be good people, to care for ourselves and those around us, and to work hard. We may not always nail it, and we may shake or lose our balance or fall off the tightrope here and there, but we have to just keep going, keep trying, and to accept ourselves as who we are. And to know that everyone else around us is simply trying their best, too.

Cheesy as this may sound, I know that I was meant to go to this yoga class tonight. I needed a place to clear my head, and I needed something to challenge me and to show me that mistakes are okay. This class did that for me.

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