I went to yoga class this morning for the first time in many years. My first time practicing at a gym, which I’ll always think is somewhat of an anathema.
I’m a bit of a yoga snob. But, don’t judge okay?
You see, I have a long personal relationship with yoga – back before it went mainstream. You didn’t take yoga at a gym and most of my friends had no clue what it was. My Ashtanga teacher studied with Pattabhi Jois. Class was held in a room smelling of incense, old office supplies and people who wore crystal deodorant. Everyone was there to do yoga. No one had a cell phone, much less forgot to turn theirs off.
But the practice of asana is only one of eight limbs of yoga. Yoga is a state of being and doing which can be practiced during every waking moment. Often times what happens during asana, the lessons and experiences, teach us a mindset that carries-over into the rest of our lives.
So I went.
Yoga is more than a class or a stretch. I have to admit, I did my own thing at my own pace and used my own alignments and binds. But mostly? I stayed still or adopted child pose. Because my body is so weak. I was prepared to do this, I’m not in a position for rigorous exercise. But still.
It was difficult. Humbling.
The mat can be a very humbling place.
I lost my yoga as my eating disorder progressed in about 2002. My body weakened—I could no longer do it. Then my mind went and then…. I went.
Through the years of “betters” and “oks,” I avoided the mat (despite wanting to practice) for several reasons.
1. My body is still weak and less flexible than it was. I’m more a beginner now than I ever was. It’s beyond starting over, it’s starting fresh. It makes me that much more aware of the damage I’ve caused my health.
2. As I slowly lean into practicing again, I re-connect with my passion and my memories, becoming more aware of how much of myself I abandoned.
3. I get winded, dizzy. There are certain poses I simply can.not.do. I am too weak. Too bony. Rolling on my spine and most supine poses are impossible right now. Before I left for class today? I threw on this weird yoga-jacket- thingy
in case I got cold because I caught glimpse of my back in the mirror. I was embarrassed. I rarely notice my body like that.
All these things are good to reckon with, things I MUST reckon with. But it’s sad. Hard. Humbling.
It’s so SO good for my soul and I have a feeling if I just keep pressing on — it may be crucial to any chance I have at life. It really does make me happy.
- What are you humbled by? Do you avoid it or relish the experience?