For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt very out of control. Like I was driving a car full of brake peddles that didn’t attach to any brakes at all. I’ve been watching things happen to me, to my family, to the world around me; and I’ve been slamming down on these peddles. I never slow down, but instead I seem to gain momentum. Driving faster and faster into this life with no control; no way to slow down. I’ve been searching for a peddle to finally just slow me down.
Last night I made it to my first yoga class. For the last few years I’ve tried doing yoga at home, so I ordered my own mat, and a handful of yoga DVD’s. In the last few months I tried incorporating yoga to my morning routine, and I have successfully done it probably ten times. I always feel good after my home yoga attempts, but never all that relaxed. I’m usually waiting for the kids to wake up and interrupt me, or I ruin the flow of it all trying to follow the DVD.
Since we moved into our current home about a year and a half ago, I’ve signed up for and paid for a yoga class every 8-week session at the YMCA. Tonight was the first time I’ve actually stepped foot into one of the classes. I’ve always had a long list of reasons for not going. They always involved the kids, and worrying about childwatch. I’m always tired, and there are always a million other things I should be spending my time doing. Honestly, my own insecurities topped the list. I look at the women at the gym who already do yoga and I knew they could most definitely bend in ways that I could not. They already know if they we are supposed to bring our own yoga mat to class, and what the hell those foam blocks are for.
I did it though. I took the first step and I showed up. I arrived about ten minutes before class started and the anxiety in my body poured out all over the room. Where do I put my mat? Should I take my shoes off in the back, or put them next to my mat? Should I stand? Sit? Should I stretch? Isn’t that what yoga is, stretching? Do you pre-stretch a stretch? Should I go in the front so I can clearly see the instructor, or hide in the back so no one see’s how awful I am? How will I improve though if I can’t see the teacher just like I could never really see the DVD’s? Do I go next to the old lady or the young woman, which one will judge me less? I started sweating before the class even started.
I finally settled onto my mat, sitting down with my legs crossed, pretending to “roll my ankles”. A middle-aged, short brunette woman came into the room with one of the warmest, most welcoming smiles I’ve ever seen. She said hello to everyone, and situated herself in the front of the room.
“You look nervous, you must be a first-timer,” she said looking directly at me.
I reluctantly nodded my head.
“Welcome! How exciting that you’ve come to join us.”
My heartbeat immediately slowed, my anxiety eased, and I smiled back at her. The class began and I was surprisingly picking it up faster than I thought I would. The teacher made a few small corrections to my position early on, and those few corrections made the rest of the class feel so much better for me. I don’t know pose names yet, but we were all sitting on our mats, focusing on our breathing, moving our hands up and down, and I started to cry. Not like, oh how sweet a few tears, but like really cry. Ugly cry. For all these years I’ve been searching for the right peddle, and right then and there I finally pressed my foot down, and felt tension in the peddle. I pushed the right one, and so I cried. The world around me slowed down. I felt so at peace. As if for the first time, maybe ever, I was a single person, focusing on my breath and my body and nothing else. My teacher noticed my tears, and smiled back at me with a slight nod, acknowledging again that this is exactly where I should be.