Sitting in my yoga class this afternoon, I felt distinctly out of place. For one, I’d kept my socks on. No one else kept their socks on. I discreetly pulled them off, balled them up, stuffed them under that wooly looking blanket everyone else placed next to their mat. As a hot yoga veteran (I’ve been to a class or four in my entire life), I knew that my t-shirt would be out of place. I was at least mentally prepared for it billowing out, covering my face, getting caught in between my legs, my mouth. They really make you stretch in this yoga class.
I felt a little less out of place an hour later, when the class was finally winding down. With my knees touching my ears (yeah), I felt a little more capable. This body, I thought, this body can do anything. I was beginning to think that I’d worn the t-shirt so that I looked less like a try-hard–so that any missteps (or mis-stretches) made more sense to my audience. And that’s when it hit me. When I realized that my body could do anything, I also realized that my mind could too.
A room full of vibrating “ommm”s is a powerful thing. For me, it’s equalizing. There is no such thing as an audience. I tell myself this all the time. It doesn’t really matter. Forever and always, I will be self-conscious. I will think that people are looking at me. Thinking about me. Wondering what I could be doing better. It may never occur to me that I am the only one having these thoughts. Today, omming and stretching and attempting to stand on my head, I heard oofs and thumps all around me. Laughter. “That means you’re trying!” shouted our enthusiastic instructor.
That means you’re trying. I’d researched this yoga studio before coming. It looked a little wacko. Kinda kooky. Free spirits and shit. Maybe more than regular yoga studios. But everyone there was trying. Other people, like me, had come alone. Hey, we’re trying all by ourselves! “High five your neighbor!” exclaimed our lithe blonde teacher after a particularly trying stretch. We all turned, smiled, smacked hands.
Maybe the class was so full because it’s January. New year, new me. I’m currently hot and heavy courting my marathon training. I just wanted to take yoga to stretch my sore muscles. New year? Shit, this schedule started in November. May, really, if we’re counting my resolve to run my ass off.
I’m not one for New Years resolutions. They don’t stick. They’re promises to yourself and when you don’t keep them, they hurt more than they ever could have helped. Today, the stretching felt good. The dark room, pulsing chants, drawn curtains–it all felt far removed from my reality. I guess I liked that. I do not resolve to do more yoga. I do not promise to find stillness and calm in my life. But I’m thinking that it may not hurt to try.