I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means "to join" or "to yoke".
“Ooooooooommmmmm.” The ringing, musical sound filled the room. I was trying to settle into some kind of acceptable pose and surreptitiously looking around the room while everyone chanted, their eyes closed. We had already messed up. My friend, Jill, and I found the yoga room and barreled in, talking and laughing. We quickly realized yoga is a quiet activity. Each sinewy, centered yogi looked up at us from her pose, slightly perturbed. We were also told to take off our shoes. We completely missed the fact that there was a shoe cubby right outside the door, and we were supposed to have taken them off and entered barefoot. The instructor patiently led us over to the equipment. We needed a mat and a block (only needed for modification, which we would obviously need). She gently got us settled, and after the chanting, got us into Downward-Facing Dog and explained that no, this is not a Hot Yoga class, the air-conditioner was just broken. It was slightly warm, but nothing I couldn't take. This soon changed. As we were led into pose after pose, only half of which I could even get close to holding, sweat began pouring down my face, stinging my eyes, plastering my curly hair onto the back of my neck and forehead.
As the women (and a couple men) effortlessly (or at least, seemingly so) and gracefully moved their bodies unencumbered by tight muscles and balance issues, I wobbled, lurched, and suppressed the giggles, frequently giving Jill defeated and incredulous looks that said, “I’m supposed to put my knees on my elbows and do what?!” At one point, I felt like we would make a great sit-com episode. Finally, just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, the instructor told us to get into the corpse pose. Yes, how apropos. I could do that! Afterward, in sort of a stunned silence, I wiped down my mat and shook my head as I walked to put it away. A lovely woman with long beautiful gray hair, muscular arms, and a furrow-free forehead, gently placed her hand on my arm and whispered, “That was an advanced class.” No kidding!
I chuckled and said, “Oh, thank God. Are there easier ones?” She was so kind and said we did great. She reassured us and said to keep coming back. Several others came over to us to say encouraging things. It was just what we needed. We will not give up. I remember taking Pilates when I lived in Pittsburgh, and at first, it seemed impossible that I would ever get through a whole class being able to do all the moves; but after doggedly going back week after week, I finally did. What a feeling that was! I will do the same in yoga. I will keep going back until maybe one day, I can actually do this pose:
Whenever I experience something like this, whenever I feel like just saying, "Forget it - that's impossible!", I think about my students. Sometimes it feels to them like we are asking them to get into that pose pictured above. They think or even say, "You want me to do what?!" I know that they can do what I'm asking them to do, but they don't always know that yet. They will get there with my gentle reassurances, repeated practice, and faith in them. It may take two or twenty tries, but they will get there. They will read 40 books, write those 30 Slices of Life, or learn a new digital tool. And they will feel great.