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Humbled by Yoga

If you ever need to be humbled, take an advanced yoga class. I practice yoga, just not like this. This was yoga on steroids. These were people showing me what the human body can do without weights, a treadmill, or a tennis racquet. It was one of those experiences that was great, not while it was happening, but after (or at least towards the end of the session) when I realized “Wow, that was cool. I never thought I could get a good sweat with only me and a mat.” How did I come to this conclusion?

The class consisted of just 10 people, a couple, and a bunch of other women, and Super Woman on the mat beside me. I’m not a big fan of group exercise classes. The whole point of exercise for me is to work things out in my mind, listen to some music, and push my body hard, with great focus on endurance and strengthening my various muscle groups. Alone. I push myself hard, because I am hard on myself. In classes, I feel judged, by the instructor and other participants. The gym for me is a judge free environment, an adult playground where I can pick and choose what I choose to do on a given day. This group exercise deal, with what I perceived to be full of judgmental people and instructors, removes the fun of going to the gym. Now yoga classes, and their teachers are always telling you to not concern yourself with judgment, let you thoughts leave your mind, they are only distractions. A nice idea, but they do not know that my brain is not into that notion. And, (and I cannot stress this enough), this is exponentially difficult when the woman beside you does a headstand for one pose, after holding herself up by her hands with her body in the most contorted of contorted positions during another. On top of it all, the instructor did not demonstrate the poses. He kind of described them, so my visual self was forced to watch the Yoga Queen, on my right, do the pose.

I am a perfectionist, so this clearly was not going to work out unless I changed my perspective. Changing my perspective is something I have been doing all month long. I have also been collecting other exciting experiences that tickle my adventurous side in a constructive way, not in a destructive way, while experiencing this perspective thing. I was wigging out in the room, I came into a state of awareness. This forced me to change my perspective about me, my body, and everyone not looking to me to be perfect. I was humbled. I was aware. I tried to stop clenching my teeth and let go of my jaw and my thought appraisals, constantly trying to bring my attention back to my breathe. Consciously, only looking to Super Yoga Woman for guidance. That is all. She was now an instrument to help push me to the next level. I normally do this on my own in the gym, but in this situation I had to look to others for help. I hate asking or looking to others for help. Yet another thing I had to let go because if I did not, I was going to get dragged by the Yoga Gods, or twist an ankle.

It was not until after the class that I decided to come back and take another class. I love pushing myself physically, and in this case, mentally. I learned that yoga is not all about relaxation and meditation, but can also be a form of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone physically and mentally.

I discovered what it means to be humble. I discovered how to embrace, yet another, new perspective. Finally, I discovered the grit that is way down deep within me. I am proud that when the tough got going, I did not cry and run out the door. I tolerated till I could accept. Now, I can not wait for the next class.

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