If you've ever hung around the front desk while yoga students register for their first class, you've probably heard them explain why they wish to practice yoga with the following expression:
"I'm so inflexible, I can't even reach my toes! I'm here so you can fix that."
There are many other reasons people come to the class, to be sure. A few of my favorites:
- To observe attractive people in tight pants attempt awkward positions
- To show other people how attractive they look in hot pants
- To change the way their bodies look/feel
- Because everything else is falling apart
I haven't been anywhere else where people so openly share the stories that have been cooking in their heads. Even if the story isn't verbalized, you can see the grudge match on the mat: me vs. myself. Me vs. tight pants. Me vs. mirror. Whatever the matchup is for this week, people arrive when they need to do battle with part of themselves, or part of their experience.
Please understand that I am not excluded from this melee. I have wrestled many classes against one particularly insidious pair of pants, the untimely death of a friendship, or my newest adversary: The Thirties. Whatever our battle or inspiration, we come to the mat and ask the teacher to help us solve this puzzle.
There are two ways to fix the student who longs to touch their toes/fit into their pants/rewind ten years:
The novice teacher bends, pulls, stretches, and sometimes breaks the body to get the fingers to the toes.
The experienced teacher helps the student release the want.
photo credit: Love Roots Photography