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March 20, 2015

Challenging our Old Limits.

yoga limits

I recently celebrated my two-year anniversary at my yoga studio, Sacred Sounds Yoga.

A dear friend and yoga teacher, that I worked with privately after my surgery, suggested I check it out. I did and I was immediately hooked.

Okay, that’s a lie. I hated it at first.

I took a Yin Yoga class and couldn’t bear to stay in any one position for several minutes. It was excruciating and I was all up in my head.

Lesson learned, I decided to pay closer attention to the descriptions of the classes on the website and try out a different class. Candlelight yoga, after a long workday sounded great. I instantly connected with the teacher, loved the vibe of the class and felt fantastic.

I remained in the back left corner of the classroom and watched all the students practicing, all of whom seemed to be much better than I was. I was a bit fixated on the fact that they could do crow, side plank, headstands and tree pose. There was a sense of defeat knowing that the best that I could do was to go into child’s pose or I’d stare at them with extreme jealousy.

I got myself into the routine of practicing at the studio—and over the course of time I found lots of familiar faces between staff, teachers and students. I loved the vibe and had no interest in leaving and exploring elsewhere.

After several months, I moved up to the front row. No matter how many people were in the class, I would always situate myself left of center while facing the teacher and alter.

I decided it was time to stop judging myself, focusing on where everyone else was at and be okay with where I was on the given day, in the present moment.

If I couldn’t do a pose, I couldn’t do a pose.

There was nobody there to tell me I was doing something wrong. What I value about this studio and its teachers, is how we’re reminded to choose our own adventure. I take vinyasa style classes yet I hate doing chaturanga and it hurts my back. I realized it didn’t matter because my body and I were happy to stay in down dog or go into child’s pose when necessary.

“Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information but of unlearning old limits.”

~ Alan Cohen

While several friends of mine have been using their “class passes” recently, I’ve been a little curious about exploring some other studios. I talked about going to one studio near my apartment for a good six months and even looked at specific classes I’d go to.

Still, I never took the plunge. I was comfortable at my studio and with my teachers.

One of my favorite teachers, whose class I went to twice a week, was away for a month and it completely threw off my schedule.

I was absolutely rejecting change and refused to go to the substitute’s class or a different class at another time.

I was afraid of the unknown. I was uncomfortable with an unfamiliar teacher who didn’t know my story, who didn’t know me and who might have had an approach that was not my style. I have a bond with my teachers and was rejecting opening myself up to trying a new one.

I had chosen to refrain from going to classes because my teacher wasn’t there and because I wasn’t willing to try someone new.

One Saturday, I woke up after a tough week of fighting myself to be more productive and realized I needed yoga.

My body was asking for it and I needed to give it what it deserved. I went into the studio, asked the front desk staff how the substitute was and they noted that they hadn’t taken her class yet. I did all that I could to be open-minded because my body (and my mind) were jonesing for a class.

Let me tell you. I found a new teacher I love.

I loved her vibe, her class, the music and how I felt—phenomenal. Once we wrapped, I went to chat with her and expressed how cynical I had been prior to the class.

Her response to me was, “You’ve missed my classes the past two weeks.” and I thought, what a silly judgment I had made. I chose not to give her a chance and just wanted my regular teacher back.

My friends lovingly mock me for walking 20 blocks to go to a yoga class when there are at least five studios within four blocks from me, but I don’t plan on leaving this studio anytime soon. It’s become a second home to me, with amazing people that have created a sacred space for me to practice.

I am a big believer that when I find something I love and are passionate about, I should hold onto it—a teacher or class, an article of clothing or a book.

But sometimes getting out of our comfort zone can help us grow and release old limitations that we have held onto.

~

*Relephant read:

It’s Time to Step Into the Fire.

~

Author: Harper Spero 

Apprentice Editor:Renee Jahnke/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Image: courtesy of the author

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