“I haven’t done a vinyasa class in ages.”
“I’ve been sticking to slow flow and yin classes lately, I’m just so exhausted all the time.”
“I just can’t manage vinyasa classes at the moment, I don’t feel up to it.”
“I’m really unfit at the moment, vinyasa is just too much for me right now.”
I was dressed for yoga class on Monday as I did the school and kinder drop off, but I was toying with the idea of taking a nap instead. After some deliberation, I decided to go to class, because it had been a week (or was it more?) since I’d last been, and I know how much better I feel when I practice. So I headed off to a slow flow class, thinking it would be a positive start to the week.
As I was walking toward the studio after parking my car, something felt … not quite right. I noticed that there was no sign of the bright yellow car that is religiously parked out the front, and I thought that it’s owner must have been unwell or away. As I walked in the door, I noticed a few unfamiliar faces, and some that I hadn’t seen in ages. A realisation began to dawn on me … I hadn’t checked the timetable before I left home. I’d blown it off as unneccessary, I almost always come to 10am Slow Flow class on a Monday morning. Don’t I?? No, in fact, I don’t. I usually come to 11.30am Slow Flow class on a Monday morning.
The 10am class is Vinyasa.
I felt a sense of dread and panic sweep over me. I could have turned around and left, but to be honest, that would have been a pain, and a waste of my precious me-time. Also, something else, deep within, kept me there. As I sat and removed my shoes, I remembered my newly renewed commitment to be dillligent in my mindfulness practice, so I began observing my thoughts.
“This practice is going to be so hard!”
“I’m going to struggle with this!”
“*Groan* … this is going to hurt!”
“I won’t be able to keep up … people will see me not keeping up.”
“I’ll wind up sweaty, frustrated and emotional. Yuck.”
“I can’t believe I came at the wrong time.”
“This is going to be awful.”
Then, something clicked – I was totally setting myself up for a struggle of a practice, a difficult experience that I was going to hate. And it was all a story in my head.
So, I concentrated instead on mindfully unlacing my runners. I shifted my focus to the environment and my actions.
I felt sure there was a good reason I was there at that vinyasa class, and it was a test of my commitment to aligning myself with the light, instead of taking the easy road of fusing with and believing the ramblings of my ego. The class might prove to be difficult, but thinking so negatively would guarantee to make it a struggle.
You know what? Yoga class was totally fine. The vinyasa practice was certainly challenging, and there were some moments when I had to slow down or modify a little, but I really surprised myself. It wasn’t a struggle. I mostly kept up, and when things became challenging, I focused on the pose instead of the whining voice of my ego: “I’m getting tired” … “ANOTHER vinyasa??!” … “I can’t chaturanga properly, my arms are too weak” … “my wrists hurt, my technique must suck, maybe this is too much” … blah blah blah. I allowed the thoughts, but instead of getting caught up and carried away with them, I just returned to focusing instead on the asana, and it got me through.
I’m so glad I found myself in a vinyasa practice on Monday. As I high fived my teacher on the way out, I said to her “Isn’t it funny, the stories we tell ourselves?”. This experience prompted a big realisation: I allow my ego to heavily influence my choices and actions, even when I know those choices and actions don’t align with my higher self. And, this habit doesn’t serve me. Sure, it usually makes things temporarily more comfortable or easy, but I’m not here in this life to be comfortable, and besides, it backfires in the long run. I’m here to live, to experience, to love, to fulfil my soul purpose. Vinyasa practice today certainly felt like a positive step in the right direction, a step towards soul level living.
Image credit: Once upon a time.. by Delphine Devos. Used under licence.