Tuesday, January 25, 2011

b getting present

"I dragged myself here kicking and screaming"

Not exactly the thing you want the teacher to overhear you say right before class. But I said it and I did and she did, overhear me. Funny thing was, she agreed. "Yeah me too! My bed was just so comfy and cozy this morning."

I had been so suprised to wake up over an hour before my alarm went off, and even more surprised that I couldn't go back to sleep, I hadn't even bothered finding an excuse to skip yoga class. I have a goal of going to class once a week- a revised goal which actually feels possible to do.

Truthfully, as hard as it was to get myself in gear to get to class, I was actually looking forward to it. I'm loving Jennifer's Tuesday am class and I knew when I actually started the practice I'd be glad I was there.

That feeling of gratitude did come, eventually, but not without completely laboring through the whole first hour of class. My legs and arms felt so heavy today and my balance felt non-existent. So I just tried to hold it together. Stay upright. Keep the sweat out of my eyes. Keep my stomach from showing. Keep my foot from sliding off the mat. No wonder it was so much work!

The second side of my lunge felt like I was balancing a mountain on 2 tiny little platforms. I started to fall out of it and suddenly Jennifer was at my side saying, "I'm so glad you're here. You're amazing you know?"

And that was all it took, I first let out a tiny sniffle and then a midrange whimper escaped and all of a sudden I was crying. Right there in class, mid-lunge. Not loud boo hooing or sobbing, but just crying. And I didn't know exactly why, but I have this theory that in my body, mixed in with the muscle and fat and bone, is memory.

I once heard someone say your body remembers and I believe it is so true. By the time I actually breathe into those little knots and tight spots I can't quite articulate what it is that I'm releasing, I just know that's what is happening.

Struggling through the poses all morning had me present in a different way than I am when my balancing comes easier and my arms don't feel quite so shaky. And I think the point is I need both and can be present to both; and everything in between (even the scary parts). And that applies way beyond the mat.
Today, just as quickly as I stopped trying so hard and let myself feel what I was feeling: discouragement, frustration, a feeling of being overwhelmed, nervousness.... the feelings were gone. I finished the rest of the class, tear free and quite present. And that was just what I needed for the morning.


  1. Good for you!! I've never taken a yoga class, I feel like I'm not flexible enough, but I've always wanted too! I have horrible balance as well, but I think I should really just stop making excuses and get there!!

  2. Thanks! You should definitely check it out! If for no other reason than I think part of this fitness adventure is moving your body in new ways and having fun while you're doing it! Even when it's challenging. (At least this is what I keep reminding myself-- especially on tough days! =)
    You can ask your local studio what would be the most appropriate class for a beginner. Or you can even check out the free intro yoga downloads on exercise tv (a website that streams videos) or videos from your local library. I like to try them for free before I committ =)

  3. There is such a thing called "muscle memory" where your body remembers how to perform certain activities even when your mind forgets but I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about. I love yoga, I've been doing it for almost a year now. It's something nice I can do for myself in between hiking and running, it really helps me!

  4. Yes I totally have heard of muscle memory. When I used to dance sometimes your body just could get on autopilot and it remembered the moves without you having to think about it! Incredible!!

    In this particular case I think the memory I was talking about has to do with the way when you're stressed or upset and you just hold it in; sometimes all it takes is a deep breath and that wall you had up just melts away. I think that was what was going on for me that day in class.