April 25, 2014

Dear Nervous Girl in My Yoga Class. ~ Raychel McMahon


 I see you, eyes darting back in forth in the back of the room.

I notice you scrutinize your every movement, mind racing with thoughts about how your bones aren’t stacked correctly simply because they are your bones. You are too scared to make a sound so you don’t say “dear god please don’t touch me”; whenever I give you an adjustment you apologize:

Oh, I know my hips just aren’t square enough.”

“I’m not strong enough.”

“I’ve just never done this before.”

But all I hear is;

“I’m not good enough.”

“That girl over there is skinnier and better at yoga than me and has shinier hair.”

(insert self judgement here)

I notice you. I hear your coded pleas for help, because I was you.

I spent so much time focusing on how everyone else was so good at yoga and telling myself I would never do an arm balance. I would guess every girls dress size in my class and how I was a mere peasant, swimming in a sea of yoga goddesses, with super shiny hair. If I got an adjustment I took it to heart. I thought I was wrong—not that my teacher was giving me a gift; connecting with me through one of the most powerful ways they know how.

Dear Nervous Girl,

I see you when you give yourself a break. I remember my students (okay, maybe not their names, but I remember them), and your resting face is my favorite of them all. The corners of your lips perk up every so slightly and I can tell that you’re magic-magnifying mind is for one breath calm.

You are radiant.

I imagine you dreaming about mountains or barefoot field trips or your mom or something so epically cool because it is moving to be around.

Dear Nervous Girl,

I wish you could see the beauty I see in you. I wish you could witness your authentic self and how inspiring it is to just be around.

Dear Nervous Girl,

I say I was you, but sometimes I still am you. Not as often, and now I’m way better at pulling myself out of it and back to the bhav. But sometimes I itch at my skin and my teeth aren’t white enough and my yoga mat isn’t cool enough and holy cow what is that guy doing? Watching you find your clarity, your calm, your center reminds me why I’m in this business.

The day someone refers to me as a yoga goddess is the day India freezes over.

But that’s not going to stop me from placing last year’s mat—worn down from hundreds of chatturanga, more sweat than I’m proud of and a blood stain—in the front and center and laughing every time I fall on my face.

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Apprentice Editor: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: Flickr Commons

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Raychel McMahon