Yeah, so, I made a New Year’s resolution to be healthier in 2018 … just like a majority of human beings (and some animals – probably).
I’ve been eating healthier, and preparing whole food, plant-based meals using the Forks Over Knives meal planner. I even joined the gym down the street from me. It’s walking distance from my house, so I can walk to the gym so I can walk on the treadmill and listen to podcasts. I know what you are thinking: “Why don’t you just walk around your neighborhood, dummy?” Because. That’s why! Also, I feel safer in the gym, where I don’t have to worry about someone mugging me or hitting me with their car.
AND, the gym has yoga classes! I started going back to yoga, which always makes me happy. I’m so out of practice, so I’ve been easing my way back into it.
I started with a restorative yoga class which is very mellow. You know, it’s one of those classes in which the instructor says, “You’re going to need three bolsters, four blankets and two blocks.” And you think, “YAAAAAS!” Then you spend 90 minutes trying not to fall asleep in some crazy yoga pose. I love that class.
I also started another class on Monday nights that is a little more vinyasa flowy – it’s more challenging but not too challenging. I can kinda keep up.
But this is a story about the Saturday morning class …
It’s a class for students with an existing practice, which I have … sort of. I mean, I used to be good at yoga. I’m rusty and out of shape, but I never walk into a new class at think, “Oh, I’ll be able to do all the things.” I’ll just do what I can and hopefully, I’ll get stronger and better.
So, I walked into the class on Saturday, and I spoke with the teacher. I gave her some background. Breast cancer, mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction surgery – all things that make me struggle sometimes in a yoga class. I can’t do any amazing backbends, stuff like that. Maybe someday, but not yet. I told her I’m out of practice, but I really want to get back to it.
“You might find this class challenging, but just do what you can,” she kindly told me.
She was right. About 20 minutes into the class, and I was already struggling. I had to take child’s pose a few times. It felt really hot in the class.
“It’s really hot in here. Oh god! I hope I don’t pass out,” I thought.
And then that was it. I started panicking that I was going to pass out. Then I started beating myself up. I’m so out of shape. I used to be good at yoga, and now I suck at it. I’m embarrassing myself in this class. I was fighting my urge to just roll up my mat and run out of the class.
I worked myself up, so when the nice instructor came by to modify me in a pose I started crying. CRYING! Bawling, really. Tears. The works.
“Oh no! What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I’m so embarrassed. You are right. This class is too challenging for me,” I sobbed. “I used to be good at yoga. And now I’m so terrible at it. Oh god! I’m so embarrassed. I’m so embarrassed.”
The instructor was so kind to me.
“You are the best student in this class,” she told me. “You are working so hard, internally and externally. Yoga isn’t easy. No one is good at yoga. You just do what you can, and that’s all you can do, and I will support you.”
I wiped my tears, and I said, “I’ll keep trying.”
I stayed on my mat and finished the class. It was hard: physically and emotionally. When the class was over, the instructor came to my mat, and instantly I started crying again.
“Thank you for helping me,” I cried. “I’m really embarrassed. I guess I have some work to do on my body and my mind.”
We chatted for a bit about how yoga is exactly what I need. It’s going to help me.
“You’re not the only one who was in child’s pose today,” she told me. “And you’re not the only one who cried during a yoga class. It happens all the time.”
“I know this class was really hard for me, and maybe I’m not at this level, but if it’s OK with you, I’d really like to come back next Saturday and try again,” I said.
“I would be so disappointed if you didn’t,” she replied. “This is the class for you. It’s what you need.” And then she asked if she could hug me.
And even though I barely made it through, and even though I embarrassed myself by crying, I left the class feeling like I’m going to get better. I was proud of myself for not running away. I was proud of myself for just saying how I felt, even though it might sound stupid.
I felt so motivated that after class I went home and bought a new yoga mat, yoga mat tote and yoga pants. Any reason to shop, I guess.
I told my mighty, mighty good man David what happened.
“I think I’m just too hard on myself,” I said.
“Breaking news: Sonia is too hard on herself,” he said. “Way to point out the obvious.”
So, yeah, I’m really mean to myself. What’s up with that? I’m nice to other people, but I’m a real asshole to myself. I guess that’s something I should work on in 2018, too.