For some reason, I’ve always hated having things out there in the world that I’m afraid to try. It haunts me, pokes at me, laughs at me. The “thing,” the “challenge” is always changing. The most recent has been yoga. I came out of the womb inflexible. Gym class when we had to test how many inches we could reach beyond our toes is still an embarrassing middle school nightmare that pops into my mind, leaving me shuddering.
I went to physical therapy and the therapist told me I needed to go to yoga. What?! Does he have any idea what he is suggesting to me? Every time I have tried yoga, the instructor flutters about shaking her head at my lack of skills, not having a clue how to handle the pathetic creature in front of her (i.e., me). It’s always—and I mean always—humiliating. But the challenge was set, and he told me I needed to go for months.
He recommended a yoga studio to me. I let the idea marinate for a couple weeks. Soon I couldn’t stand the idea that yoga was tougher than me a second longer. I made yoga jam its tongue that it had been waving at me back in its yogi mouth and bought a package at the studio. Just like that, I had committed. I walked into the studio; it was hot. What, hot yoga? No, this was too much. As it turned out, it wasn’t hot yoga at all, just warm yoga, the man in a headstand next to me informed me. Wait, this was supposed to be a beginner class. I looked around the hot and steamy room at human pretzels flip-flopping and twisting into obscure positions, thinking, “I’m so screwed!!!” I ran to the front desk. “Excuse me, but this doesn’t look like a beginner class,” I said as I pointed at a man balancing his whole body on the tip of his pinky finger. She explained the yogis in training were there too. Great, I thought. Just add to the humiliation; I’m now surrounded by yogis in training.
The class started and the heat no longer scared me. It started feeling just warm like they told me it was. It was nice, actually. As I started concentrating on the poses they asked me to do, the acrobats around me faded away. I no longer cared. I felt challenged. It felt good. When the class was over, I felt proud. I did it. Not only did I get through the class, but I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong; I was horrible. But I went that Sunday night, and as I walked out, I decided it was my new Sunday night ritual. It’s okay that I’m the worst in the class. It’s okay that I don’t have a clue what they are talking about half the time. Each week I’m learning. Getting a bit more flexible. Feeling less and less like a total idiot. Mostly I’m proud I accepted the challenge and got out of my comfort zone.