While I step into yoga class to calm myself and find my Zen, I set aside two anxiety-inducing facts:
- I just had to madly search every inch of my living space for my vanishing yoga mat.
- My car smelled remarkably sour from a 3-day-old smoothie I somehow forgot to throw into any trashcan I passed over the last 72 hours. Did I mention said sour smoothie was not seated in the cup holder? Oh no. It was splayed across the driver’s seat where my large yogi butt had to sit in order to drive to the class that would give me a bikini-ready yogi butt.
I roll out my mat and settle into Child’s Pose, hoping that my body will calm and my mind will follow suit. No thoughts of exams, pressures, or my ever-growing obsession with finding a way to make ice cream a health food. Constant reminders to empty my mind fill each crevice of my brain, and I am fully aware of the irony!
The instructor begins by reminding us to set an intention for our practice. I realize I have no intention perfectly prepared for this moment. Anxiously, I reach into my brain hoping to find some profound truth to hold on to for the next 75 minutes. Bitchy. Be Less Bitchy. This phrase keeps running through my mind, yet I don’t think the Yogis of Old would appreciate nor validate “Lessening Bitchiness” as an intention. Finally, my mind lands on “peaceful.” But let’s be real. “Peaceful” is really the same thing as “Be Less Bitchy” – it just has a more meditative ring to it.
The class progresses. I become more flexible and my muscles start heating up. The teacher tells us to rest in Chair Pose. A.K.A. rest in a squat. My idea of resting is lying on the couch and watching Netflix until my eyes glaze over and words begin to jumble. Orange is the New House of Scandal. Resting in a glorified squat position seems daunting if not impossible. Sweat pours down my face. My legs shake. I chant: “Bikini-ready yogi butt…Bikini-ready yogi butt…Forget it, I’ll wear a cover up all summer”.
The instructor tells us it is now time for handstands. She explains that there are two times when we should choose to abstain from these balancing inversions:
- Shoulder or wrist pain
- Menstrual Cycle
Now, I’m not really on my menstrual cycle. But what is she going to do? Check?!? I know handstands result in one outcome for me: face smashed into the floor. It’s not that I don’t want to stretch my body to do hard things (get your mind out of the gutter), I just prefer to humiliate myself only four or five times a week, and I already met my quota.
Finally, we come to Savasana. The blessed salvation at the end of a sweaty session! I lie down on my mat and close my eyes. The instructor reminds us that we are in a supportive place, we can completely relax. I laugh to myself. I don’t doubt that those around me are supportive, but I have to wonder if I’m lacking a severe amount of support for myself. I take a breath. I retrace my steps throughout the class and decide to change my mind.
- If I want to intentionally be less bitchy, high-freaking-five to me! The world needs a little less bitchy.
- I can rest in uncomfortable situations. I don’t need to be numbing myself with Orange is the New House of Scandal in order to rest. I am a strong person. Resting in Chair Pose? I got that!
- Humiliation is not a required emotion. I can do something silly, wrong, or embarrassing and not feel humiliated. I have an awesome laugh. I should use it with myself a little more often.
We are all telling our stories every second of our lives. Changing our minds and changing negative thought patterns are fantastic plot twists. Choosing to not attempt a handstand because I may fall is a boring story line. Choosing to attempt a handstand and falling is a great action-packed comedic moment.
So I walk back to my car and can feel the bitchiness melting away. I suddenly remember the “Smoothie Catastrophe of the Decade” still waiting for me in my car and choose to laugh instead of roll my eyes. I can, quite literally, rest in this uncomfortable situation without turning up the bitchy factor.