Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lessons from a Neurotic Yogini, Part 1

I know that 'yoga people' are supposed to be free-loving, relaxed, and perpetually glowing, but the fact is that I am in fact both a yogini and the tiniest bit rigid. Stuck in my ways. Conscientious. Disciplined. Maybe a skosh neurotic.

This works to my advantage in my community of mostly free-loving, mostly relaxed, mostly glowing yogi friends. They love me for who I am, yield to my odd behavior, and have me split the check when we go out to dinner (in fact, I wonder sometimes how they split the bill without me). One of the best things about practicing in class is that I’m consistently exposed to the honey-sweet vibes of yoga people: they are happy, accepting, and generally glad to see me no matter how I might look (or smell) at the time. So here, dear yogi-friends, are a few things I’ve learned from you.

1. 100% compliance is not expected. I am an A student. I dislike doing things wrong, or not doing enough, or having anyone think that I’m not pulling my weight. Yoga people do not care what I do in class, so long as I do not kick them (on purpose) and do not talk on my cell phone. They don’t care if I do what the teacher says, or if I lay flat on my mat. They don’t care if I snore or even fart (not that I ever would). They are that cool.

2. Adjustment does not result from failure. When the teacher says my name or adjusts me in a posture, it is not because I am doing something wrong, it is because I am doing something right and the teacher can see me from all angles. She knows things I can’t know, and it isn’t because I’m a failure, it’s because I don’t have eyes on my butt.

3. The mirrors are tools for success, not reminders of how far I have to go. Some yoga studios don’t even have mirrors, but those that do are not there for me to check my makeup, inform me about what my backside looks like in revolved triangle, or provide commentary about my attire.

4. Yoga is more than twisting, sweating, and balancing on my face. The part of my psyche influenced most directly by Jane Fonda believes that if I go to a yoga class, I am going there to make my body work hard, sweat, get stronger, and possibly hurt some. This is not true in yoga. In fact, breathing is more important in yoga than any posture. As long as I breathe, I am yoga.

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