Thursday, September 21, 2006

on being a yoga geek


A while back (almost a year, I think) my friend Elizabeth mentioned that she had gone to a power yoga class the day before and was sore all over her body. Being a fan of the all-over workout ache, which always means I’ve actually done some work, I googled “power yoga” a few weeks later. Just out of curiosity. I think at that point I had already started practicing with the Sara Ivanhoe tape and I was getting a little restless, a little bored, ready to learn some new poses and techniques.

It brought me to Bryan Kest’s website, to which I’ve linked so many times by now it’s hardly worth the bother, so I’ll skip the link today. I netflixed his 3-part DVD and bought it a couple of weeks later.

It was hard. It was so hard that the next day I felt like I had been hit by a truck. So I did it again – knowing that if I didn’t, I would feel even worse the day after. Workouts always hurt more for me on the third day. It was still hard. And I kept doing it, because of how I felt afterwards, and because of the practice it gave me in staying calm, even off the mat. I think I could do the first sequence in my sleep at this point.

In January, I was browsing his site a little further, exploring the section for workshops. I found, to my surprise, that he was going to be in Asheville in September. I shot up to the front office to tell RB (who was briefly Yoga Buddy, too.) “Three days of yoga. Oh, that sounds wonderful.”

“You should be a yoga teacher,” she said. “I think that would about kill me.”

“But I have nine months,” I said. “Surely I can get into better shape by then.”

And so I have. I’ve tried classes here and there, looking for an experience that would draw me back. I experimented with the Asheville Yoga Studio, because they were the ones hosting the workshop, and I thought it might be a good thing to get comfortable in the space. I found a great class there on Saturday mornings and have gone several times since. It’s a Saturday habit, now.

I’m grateful I took the time to do it. Because in two days, I’ll be in that studio, jostling for a good spot on the floor, not too close to the front, sharing classes with my yoga hero. I’m such a freaking geek.

My hands and feet are starting to tingle – a sure sign of nerves. It used to be stage fright – or stage anxiety, anyway, back when I was still doing theater. (My dad, by the way, had such a hard time with it during his first show – The Robber Bridegroom – that he threw up before going on stage. Seriously. I so love him for that.)

I have to admit it. I want acknowledgement. I want validation. I want one moment that I can take away from the workshop where I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile. I want to feel that all my time and energy and effort has not gone unnoticed.

So there it is. Ridiculous, I know. But it’s important to get it out on the cluttered surface of my mind’s table. Because sometimes I wonder why I do this, why I spend an hour a day on physical meditation. Then again, why do people run, play sports, go to church, take classes? Because we want to be better people in some way – physically, spiritually, mentally.

I can answer that without going to the workshop, you know? My practice does make me a better person. I certainly look better; I’ve lost some weight and I do feel better about myself (even though I still look like shit in photographs.) And maybe that’s part of what helps me be a better person. I’m a better mother – I’m able to turn away from the tantrums (hers and mine both) and avoid perpetuating them. I’m a better wife – I spend a little more time on my own path, which gives me the energy, the inclination, and the compassion to spend time walking our path together.

If nothing else, at least it doesn’t hurt anybody.

So if I geek out and take a second or two of Kest’s time this weekend, the one thing I want to say is, “Thank you. You have helped me become a better person.”

Hopefully I’ll be able to say it without sounding too much like an awkward thirteen-year-old wanna-be groupie.



SB Gypsy said...

I can totally relate. All that most of us need is just a little validation. Really, is it asking too much?

And those early morning yoga sessions, followed by an hour of meditation consisting mostly of trying - and sometimes failing - to stay awake! So many times I ended up "meditating" in "vulture pose"

... heh heh heh. :0)

andi said...

an HOUR of meditation? i can barely manage five minutes while my daughter goes to sleep!

sheesh. i bow to your erstwhile hours of meditation, SB!

Yogamum said...

I hope you enjoy the workshop (despite the back-tweaking!) and get lots of inspiration for continuing your yoga practice. I always feel like such a goofball saying it, but yoga really does make me a better person, too!

James said...

You're a yoga geek and i'm a Buddhist geek. Have fun. :)

oldwhitelady said...

Sounds like you'll have a good time. I'm sure he'll be pleased to hear the thanks. You won't sound like a wanna-be groupie:) Or if you do, he'll appreciate it because it means you are embracing something he so believes in.