Yoga & Confessions.

Via Anne Samit
on Oct 23, 2012
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We all carry some secrets, large and small.

The small ones are universal. They are the everyday thoughts we keep quiet as we walk around doing whatever it is that we do.

And what I do every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning is yoga.

For the most part, the practice clears my head. Whatever is on my mind seems to leave through the music and the movement.

After one such practice, a fellow yogi walked up to me to compliment my poses.

How long have you been doing yoga? he asked.

A timely question, as my two-year anniversary was the very next week, and I told him so.

Well, he said, I just watch your poses, and I’m not sure I’m ever going to get there.

That would have been a good time to reveal some of my inner yoga thoughts; however, I just thanked him instead.

He introduced himself and explained to me that he was not sure he would be able to advance in the way he saw my practice, so in return I did make the small confession that when I started, I knew from nothing.

What I did not tell him were my yoga secrets.

The first of which is how very self conscious and out of my league I felt at the beginning.

I had never before exercised, and I found myself—especially on Friday mornings—in a class of mostly women with what I saw as intimidating arm muscles.

They all seemed younger and looked like they had worked out for most of their lives, which no doubt they had.

So, instead I just told him that when I first arrived at yoga I was extremely cautious of my back, and that I was resistant to trying a lot of poses, especially the backbends.

Another fact I kept under wraps was that I was sort of inhibited at the beginning.

And yoga pretty much demands the dismissal of inhibition.

We put our bottoms in the air, lift our legs and open our hips, squat down with our knees apart, and lean back and open our chests to the sky.

It was almost all too much—plus the instructor would come along and adjust us.

And that’s another thing I kept to myself.

Even more than being intimidated or inhibited was the fact that I was someone who most likely had her guard up higher than anyone around.

I was and still am very cautious of anyone who gets close.

Having someone approach to move my arm or tilt my shoulder or adjust my hip was not really in my comfort zone, to say the least.

So, instead, I just told this man that, at the beginning, I was afraid to try a lot of the poses, too.

It’s difficult to explain what yoga has done for me, so I don’t really say much about that.

And my strategy from the beginning was to just keep coming back.

And I’ve been on a ride ever since.

Slowly, I eased my way into the practice, letting go of intimidation, letting go of inhibition, and letting go of my guard.

Yoga sort of broke me open. And that’s really how I started to advance.

I don’t say any of this to the morning yogi speaking with me. 

Instead, I tell him not to be afraid to try the poses, even if he thinks he can’t do them. I tell him that one day, he’ll get it and then his body will always remember it.

His response was to tell me that I was inspiring.

I said a quick thanks and got ready to leave, thinking he should only know what I say to myself during some parts of the practice.

The music and the movement might clear my mind for the most part, but not for all the parts.

When it’s time for Dancer pose, a heart opener and standing Backbend, I say in my head, Oh, no, Dancer!

When it is time for Lizard pose, a hip opener into which I’m learning to take an inversion, I say in my head, Oh, no, Lizard!

These openers are rough, in more ways than one!

It’s hard to open if there are some broken parts.

But there’s a theory of sorts about how these breaks create the spaces through which the light gets in.

So, maybe it is good to be broken open, even if it means dreading Dancer and Lizard.

And I guess through yoga I have created some such openings, letting in some light to free me from the intimidation, inhibition and guardedness with which I arrived.

And this freedom has been very healing.

Still, I do not say a word about this to my fellow yogi. Some things are better left quiet.

And, besides, he’s only at the beginning of the yoga ride, so there’s still time for his light to shine through, too.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Anne Samit

With the sole intention of exercising for the first time in her life, Anne Samit's simple quest to exercise ignited a therapeutic journey of self-discovery. She blogs on the impact of her practice, and her new book, Unfold Your Mat, Unfold Yourself: Essays on Yoga’s Healing Truths and So Much More, compiles these essays in an effort to share with readers both the awakening and the solace that she has found on the mat. A native Washingtonian with a passion for writing, an interest in painting and a background in public relations, she is presently an executive assistant at a health industry consulting company. Her two children live in New York City where they practice yoga, too. Connect with Anne on her blog and on Facebook.


13 Responses to “Yoga & Confessions.”

  1. maya says:

    thank you, that was really beautiful and honest.. i loved it.

  2. greateacher says:


  3. Anne says:

    Hi Maya. Thanks for commenting. Writing is a bit like yoga in that you put your heart into your piece and hope it reflects the truth inside. Thanks for reading.

  4. Anne says:

    So nice to get a "good" from a greateacher. Thank you!

  5. greateacher says:

    you're welcome. I didn't mean to be too brief, but rather to encourage you for opening and espressing yourself.
    I would also encourage you to not consider yourself as being 'broken open'. That sounds like it really hurts. Could you consider the process as a process of softening open or of blossoming. The connotation of 'broken' feels to me, jangly, but maybe th eprocess feels like that to you. It is .. your process which you are describing and that is the beauty of writing.. using words.

  6. Anne says:

    Wise words. And you are right. "Broken open" sounds a little "jangly" but I didn't know how else to describe it. I think I thought of it that way because opening up seems to be a by product of the practice and not something intentional on my part. In fact, I avidly avoided that, and so it felt more like it "happened" to me. I like your idea of looking at it instead as a softening/blossoming. It is a gentler viewpoint.

  7. Stratonike says:

    As a new practitioner intimidated by many poses, I took comfort from what you wrote. Thank you.

  8. Anne says:

    You're welcome, Sratonike. I am glad you found comfort in this piece. There are still times I feel like I am just beginning and I bet those practicing around you often feel the same way.

  9. Vision_Quest2 says:

    You gotta know, it's articles like this that confirm my decision to do only Pilates publicly. I have internally rotated hips and have never advanced beyond a certain point physically in yoga. Any further advancings to be had is by the millimeter. I am serious. And I've been practicing yoga regularly over 5 years.

    My yoga secret is my actual physical practice.

    What isn't secret is that when I'm done with practice, I feel so set free … and I had not needed to stretch into tomorrow to get that way.

  10. Anne says:

    Hi Vision_Quest2. Thank you for your comment. That the practice can set you free, at any level, is a discovery in itself. That you can choose to practice privately and keep up a regular practice is a good secret to tell because yoga is really available to everyone. And a strong practice can definitely be measured in millimeters.

  11. livetstrae says:

    thank you for writing this – I think we all need to be reminded <3

  12. Anne says:

    You are welcome, livetstrae.