As many of you know last year I decided to become a runner. I ran the Denver Rock n Roll and vowed to never run again. And, the truth is, I only ran that race because I was a show off on my blog about the entire situation and by the time I realized it was a REALLY bad idea there was NO way I was backing out. One and done. Moving on….
This year I have decided to become a yogi. I have very casually taken yoga for the past couple of years and I have decided to step up my yogi status. When you first start yoga it can be really intimidating. The room is filled with regulars that know you are new. …it’s like they can tell before they walk in the room. That’s because they are so in touch with things around them. You can tell these people by their rituals and routine. They arrive extra early to ensure their “spot” in the room and get really protective of it. If a yogi walks into class and looks right at you….you need to move.
I know that in yoga you are supposed to “stay on your own mat” (meaning your gaze) But it’s impossible not to watch everyone in action. When class starts, all of these little personalities pop out. Here are a few of my favorites. The yogi who wishes they were in a class of their own. What this person is doing has absolutely NOTHING to do with the yoga class that the teacher is teaching. This person is making up their own postures and flow. They are rolling around, supine, in a fakakta head stand, in Pigeon, while the rest of us are in downward dog. I’ve been told that yogi’s randomly break out into poses when their bodies are ‘speaking to them’ but why did this person even bother to come to class when they can do the class they invented at home? And I’m new, I get confused, sometimes I start doing what they are doing. That’s awkward. Next to Suzy, party of one, doing her own flow there is the over-exerting grunter, the moaner — the one for whom the experience is so transcendent that they “mmm,” “aaaah” and “ooo” like they are having an orgasm. Really? Be quite already. In most yoga classes I found myself secretly strategizing and plotting my escape out.
Now back to my own mat. Aimee and I were taking a yoga class at the gym. We came across a teacher that has a cult like following and is verrrrrry into doing everything correctly. This would be the class that I realized I was doing pretty much everything wrong. I’m actually still not sure that what I was ever doing was even really yoga. I knew this by the way she would come over and correct me multiple times in class but mostly by the ‘what in he world is she doing???’ look on her face she would give me as I was facing the wrong wall.
As many of you know I can’t stand to suck at something so Aimee and I employed said yoga instructor to mold us into her perfect little protegé’s. Aimee’s goal is to be able to do the perfect chataranga and mine was, well, I had a lot to work on.
Our instructor has been coming every Friday for the last few months and is very serious about the job she has taken on. She is tough and has no problem making us repeat something a million times or looking right at us and asking, “What is that? What are you doing?” It’s been a lot of fun. Aimee and I cheer each other on, fall out of positions onto our face and laugh so hard sometimes we can’t compose ourselves. There are time’s I’m sure our teacher has wondered why she is here. But she continues to be the consummate professional and I think may even be quite proud of what she has accomplished with us.
I have admittedly spent most of my adult life not doing anything I don’t want to do or am not good at. Lately I have come to realize that these are the exact things you should be doing. Even if only once. Why can’t you run a marathon or do something else you wouldn’t even consider because you think it isn’t you? I challenge you to try something different. Something you would never consider to be you. Join a class where you are th mis-fit. You just may surprise yourself.
I still haven’t found my “Om” and I will never have my own spot in yoga class but guess what I can do now?