My love affair with yoga began years ago. The first time I ever did anything remotely yoga-like was in 5th or 6th grade. Our PE teacher took us into the lobby and for 30 minutes we did a relaxation technique. (I later learned this pose is otherwise known as Corpse Pose.) I could have stayed there all day. But we obviously couldn’t and it would be years before I tried yoga again.
There are no yoga studios within 60 miles of my hometown, and there weren’t a lot of yoga videos at our local movie store to rent either. So I was beyond ecstatic when a local person decided to offer yoga & pilates. It was the best year or two ever, and gathering in the gym twice a week became one of my favorite activities. But life moves on, and for whatever reason, our class ended. So I was left to my own recollection of our routines and continued my practice at home.
From time to time, I would look for a class in nearby towns, and finally found one at the Y in a town not far away. It would be about a 45 minute drive to class, but one of my friends there had a membership to the Y, so I convinced her we needed to do this. We could use her membership and I could go as her guest and get the reduced rate for classes. (I was young and broke, so any discount I could find was a great one!) It took a lot of convincing, but finally she gave in. I’d had the worst day ever at my office that day and of course since I had somewhere I wanted/needed to be, Karma was going to do everything it could to make me late leaving. I left 10-15 minutes late and drove like the wind to get there. Thankfully the highway patrol had called it an early evening! But then I got about 5 miles out and wouldn’t you know it I got behind the s-l-o-w-e-s-t driver ever. Don’t they know I have somewhere to be? Somewhere relaxing? Something I’ve been wanting to do forever??? Clearly not. I couldn’t pass her. I tried…several times. I finally made it into town and she turned, and I took off the best way (I thought) to get to the Y. Road construction…everywhere. I finally made it to the Y, got inside and met my friend. She turned and said the instructor just got there, and would be back in a minute to start class, then asked why I was so late, so I explained, my late start, the slow driver, the road construction and even said jokingly “Yoga isn’t supposed to be this stressful!”. Then the instructor walked in, it was the woman I had been following into town! Can you imagine? I knew if I recognized her, then she probably recognized me. Sure enough, she did, and proceeded to come right to the edge of my mat and said, “You know, getting to yoga class shouldn’t be so stressful, maybe you should allow yourself some more time.” I apologized and briefly tried to explain, but really I think I would have felt better crawling under my mat.
She was right though. Doing something you love shouldn’t be that stressful, yet how many times do we turn something that’s supposed to be beneficial to our health into more stress & strife? What if we learned to relax? What if we learned to trust both the process and our bodies? What if we learned to enjoy what our bodies can do and not worry about what they can’t do at this very moment?