I hate pigeon pose.
To be honest, I hate yoga.
And yet, today is my day off, and I’m going to two yoga classes.
I hate triangle pose—the way it pulls open my shoulders and tugs at my hips.
I really dislike yoga—the sweat rolling down my body, the smell of rubbery yoga mats.
And yet, I’m craving my second class of the day.
I resist it…my practice.
The yoga mat in my living room is collecting dust.
What brought me to the mat today was the ache in my muscles and the constriction of my thoughts.
What brought me to my mat was my work schedule. What drove me to practice was leading other disgruntled humans through asanas and guiding them breath by breath.
I’ve hated yoga for 20 years. I really hated it when I started practicing. In fact, I ran from my first class. I ran when I was cued to move into an inversion that I never in my life thought I could do. I ran from the newness and the discomfort it imbued. I ran with charge, with the tingles a really good first date sometimes conjures up.
The fear and the longing, all rolled into one big “let me get the f*ck out of here” thought, sent me sprinting from the dingy gym I took my first class in. From there, I wept. I wept the tears of a newborn soul experiencing life for the very first time. I wept, and I cursed, and I didn’t come back for another year.
I came back when I discovered a book—an Ayurvedic book written for Western readers that also offered a mini “start your daily yoga” practice. The practice involved self-massage, pranayama, and a short, gentle asana sequence. The way I truly started (a year later) was the Goldilocks “just right” way. The dingy gym, it was like “too cold” or “too hot” porridge. I needed to dip my toes in—on my own. And I did.
The moment I felt at ease unrolling my mat was like finally receiving that first good kiss after a few awkward dates. I sought out a studio class, and it was there I began to fall in love—not only with the movement of my body and my breath on the mat, but with the act of sharing my body and breath in a room full of others, who were also sharing.
And that’s what pushed me to continue. That good kiss made me want to keep dating my yoga practice. The dates started out being weekly, then bi-weekly—then they became daily. I took a swan dive into a long-term relationship with yoga.
Perhaps that’s why my mat at home is collecting dust—but maybe that dust doesn’t have to make me feel guilty. Perhaps that dust is reminding me that my practice is best in a room filled with others—infused by community and expanded by the quiet presence of bodies breathing, being, and moving—together.
It’s that togetherness that I’m choosing to be in relationship with. When I’m in that space of breathing and being together—I love yoga. And, the love that I feel: it’s enough.
Author: Sarah Theresa
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Kenni Linden