I have a terrible history with group fitness classes — from the time I peed my pants in Turbo Kick to the time I ran out of a dance class crying because when it comes to choreography, I am a s-l-o-w learner. They’ve been redeemed for me since I’ve been attending yoga at the local rec center every week this year, that is, until this week, when I experienced flashbacks from my humiliating past.
My yoga teacher is a character. One time he showed up to teach class on painkillers with his hand wrapped up in a bandage. He joked about hot nurses right after asking if there were any nurses in the class. When he’s not under the influence, he has some really deep and often quirky insights each week. I usually find myself replaying things he said days later. He also loves to torture us — that is kind of what fitness class teachers are there for though, right?
So back to this week, he really has a wild hair although this time not drug induced. He warns us at the beginning of class and all through class has us trying things out of our comfort zones such as challenging us all to “float” not step to the top of our space. In the past, I’ve really appreciated how he breaks down the really hard looking poses and techniques into bite sized pieces that I’m able to slowly conquer.
But then, he comes to crooked crow. I was excited at first because crow pose is something I learned to do this year with his guidance. Until we get into it and I get so twisted up and lost that I’m not even sure I’m doing things right, and when I try to lift with my arms, I fall onto my face with my arms pinned. Instantly I feel the tears well up. I keep trying (because damn it, I’m not a quitter) and falling and now the tears are threatening to jump out of my eyes and come down my cheeks.
I’ve always heard yoga teachers say things like “oh this pose is a real heart opener, so it is normal if it brings up emotion for you,” and I always tried to feel something but never did. Apparently my heart’s pretty open but my tolerance for failure, especially in public, is really low.
I’ve been trying to process through all this and find the lesson and for right now I’m clinging to the idea that the only way to truly fail is to quit. I know some people disagree with that idea (and in some scenarios I do too) but it’s been a really powerful idea for me. So I’m just going to keep showing up and trying, and hopefully one of these days it will come together.