No crying in yoga

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This is a stressful time of year in my job. Everyone on my team has an annual sales goal they need to cross, and those numbers ultimately roll up to me and my own sales goal.

It’s a time of year that’s FULL of awkward conversations, early mornings, long days and a mounting degree of pressure given the upcoming holidays and the threat of losing your contracts to Christmas and New Year’s vacations.

On Tuesday, the family and I are heading down to Nicaragua for a few days to spend Christmas with our loved ones. I am excited to see my parents and my siblings, and looking forward to getting away from the cold for a bit, but the travel adds a little bit of extra stress to the season.

Given all this, I’ve been surprisingly calm in the face of the storm. I’m relatively close to my goal, although there are still a few things out there that may well derail me. Still, I haven’t felt too anxious about it all, and I was beginning to think there might be something wrong with me.

I went to a Mysore-style yoga class again on yesterday. I saw that a teacher I really like was subbing that class, and I jumped at the chance to work with her.

Mysore-style classes allow you to practice a predetermined series of poses on your own, at your own pace. People come in and out of the studio during 2.5 hr window to practice their piece, and the instructors float around among the students to help with alignment, or to introduce them to a new part of the series that they may not have perfected yet.

This was the second time I’d been to Mysore, and while I knew more or less what to expect, I suddenly felt awkward as ASS.

I’m very comfortable in led classes. Doesn’t matter the style. Front row, middle row, back row, wall, no wall, don’t care. I laugh at myself when I fall (if you’ve read my blog at all, you’ll know I fall a LOT), I laugh at myself when I inadvertently ram my head against the wall, I laugh at myself when I roll around on the mat like a flipped over turtle because my tight hamstrings won’t let me do what I’m supposed to.

In Mysore, I was NOT laughing. There’s something about the fact that I have to remember what to do, or the fact that I have to know when I can move on to the next series of poses, or the fact that the people around me aren’t all too busy trying to keep up with the class so they’re a little more free to look at the doofus standing on her mat trying to figure out what to do next. Or SOMETHING. But I was not feeling great, and it all came to a head when I hit a series of poses that has always been difficult for me.

I’ve mentioned before that I find it easier to balance upside down than right side up. My arms seem to be more capable of steadily supporting my body than my legs, so I have a difficult time with certain standing poses that require you to balance on one leg. The thing with these poses is – I know what the pose is supposed to look like. And give my challenged balance and my tight hamstrings, I can’t make the pose look anything like it’s supposed to. It just is what it is.

This had me on the verge of tears in Mysore for some reason. I was choking them back big time as I stepped out into the cubby area to get a drink of water. And I was SO frustrated with myself for being frustrated with myself! I know in my head this all takes practice and even if I can’t get it right it actually doesn’t matter, but in that moment I HATED my legs for being so utterly incompetent.

The teachers probably thought I was a raving lunatic and I finished my practice not feeling very good about myself. Not for not being able to do that pose, but for upset about it.

I will be back to Mysore, of course, because clearly it brings up issues hiding under the surface that I would do well to address. Probably about the fact that underneath it all I’m a bit of a perfectionist with myself, even though I ACTIVELY reject such a concept. Either way, I clearly need to forgive myself for having unenlightened feelings, and since I discovered all this in Mysore, that’s likely going to be the best place to resolve it.

For today, though, I’m going to go to my regularly scheduled class to be told exactly what to do and when to do it, and I will do it feeling comforted by the knowledge that after today we gain four minutes of light every day until June 21st. Thank heavens for small favors.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone.

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