Generally speaking, in yoga, as in life, my time is primarily spent between the unhappy fluctuation of time-spent-comparing-myself-to-others, and time-spent-actually-living.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to find a remedy. At the beginning of every class, as sinewy figures bend and stretch around me, I dutifully, stoically unroll my mat, take child’s pose and attempt to turn my focus inward, listening to my breath and body as I’ve been told to do countless times by countless teachers.
“Breathe in, breathe out,” I repeat in my head like a mantra, using the lyrical yoga voice reserved for only the most enlightened practitioners, and which I have yet to effectively imitate.
“Lets all begin standing at the top of our mats,” the teacher says in just such a voice.
I open my eyes. The girl in front of me has a really nice back. She looks quite strong. I wonder if she can do hanumanasana (the splits) and if so, will the teacher makes us do them today? Will she notice the two-inch gap between my pelvic f*cking floor and the mat that refuses to eradicate its existence from my practice and life?
Damn. Stop. Breathe, body, forward fold, chaturanga.
I bring myself back to my mat, vowing not to look in front of behind me for the remainder of the practice.
“Now as you stand folded at the top of your mat, can you bring one leg up and simply hop into handstand?” the teacher asks.
I wonder if she’s being rhetorical, but then see most everyone around me gracefully standing on his or her hands and realize I am the only one that has yet to come upside down.
Damn, damn, damn.
I kick up, and fall straight back into wheel, the only thing about handstand I have actually mastered. Can someone else please fall so I don’t look so bad? I search hopefully around the room, willing someone to eat it in solidarity. No dice.
Damnit Zoe! Stop! Was I actually just willing someone to fall?! What is wrong with me?! I am the worst yogi ever. Surely this warrants some sort of yogic purgatory or even hell, filled with lululemon knockoffs and canned, inorganic coconut water.
I drag my dejected yogless ass to the wall and come into handstand, continuing to stare morosely around me at the serene faces all focused on their respective drishtis. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will find my true practice.
Editor: Brianna Bemel