You know what?
Let’s not pretend.
It can be pretty intimidating because it can sometimes feel really pretentious. Like, people who do yoga regularly are sometimes very serious about yoga, so it can be super scary to go in as a beginner, anticipating dirty looks and/or judgement.
But I’ve always been curious about it. Especially since becoming a fitness instructor. I do so much high impact cardio, and then a lot of strength training, and I know I could use more stretch in my life.
So in July, I decided to give it a go. It was pure chance, really. I had a coffee meeting downtown, and when I checked my gym schedule online, it just so happened that a friend of mine was teaching yoga right after my coffee date at a location just a few blocks away.
Meant to be, I thought. Just do it.
So I did.
I was the only first-timer. Great. But I tried to shrug and laugh it off.
“I have no idea what I’m doing!” I joked. “It’s gonna be highly entertaining!”
In the meantime, I just wanted to disappear.
You know what? Physically, I rocked it.
I’m strong, I’m in good shape, and I’m flexible. Yes, the hamstring stretches made me want to die because I work my legs so hard on a daily basis doing Zumba. But I didn’t really struggle with any of the strength or balance aspects of the class.
It was the other side of yoga that got me.
The quiet side.
My friend, the instructor, was amazing. She’s an incredibly centred and peaceful presence. And in theory, I totally understood everything she was saying.
But every time we had to just be still on our mat and breathe, my body tensed up.
I could hear the instructor’s words, telling me to focus and clear my mind. And I was trying. I was trying so hard that it was making me sweat. I’d close my eyes and the noise in my head would feel deafening. The thoughts would rush around in there so quickly it was like they were colliding and causing me physical pain. I twitched and tightened, worrying about how I couldn’t just relax, wondering if anyone was watching me and thinking, My God, what the fuck is wrong with her?!
Logically, I knew:
Despite leaving feeling like a total failure, something happened when I got home. I got into the shower, and all of a sudden, I had an overwhelming rush of creative ideas. I wrote the endings to stories I’ve had in my mind for ages. I had a perfect idea for a short film. I envisioned a hilarious moment in the TV show I am working on writing.
I got out of the shower and grabbed my iPhone and rambled a ton of shit into my voice memos.
I guess I managed to relax a little. Like, maybe even halfway. And look where it got me.
So yoga taught me:
(A) That I am terrible at relaxing and clearing my mind. (I’ve kind of been through this already…)
(B) That I really, seriously need to work on doing just that.
P.S. One of the few accurate things the tarot card reader said about me yesterday was that I never give myself a break. “When you are working on a project, you put everything into it. You’re incredibly focused. And you have multiple projects at once. I feel like…I feel like you’ve never been on a real vacation. And I think you need to give yourself that. Soon.”
YEAH OKAY. TOTALLY YES PLEASE.
I just need to find the time and money.