Having no idea what “hatha flow” yoga was, I approached the instructor at the door.
“I don’t particularly like yoga. I’m not flexible, I fall down a lot, and I am just not a namaste girl.”
She laughed and put her hand on my arm. “Come on in.”
During the small class (six students), she guided us through a series of postures and stretches, making sure to tell each person how to adjust for their needs. One man wanted to work on opening his hips. I need to be careful with my damaged spine.
Donna, the instructor, kept the atmosphere light and conversational, even humorous.
“A fellow yoga instructor once told me to imagine love emanating from your fingertips,” she shared as we stood in Warrior Two pose. “The ‘not-a-namaste-girl’ must really hate that.”
I loved it. Not the emanating love part – what is this, a zen Care Bear stare*? But the good-natured teasing. I honestly don’t get people who can’t take a gentle ribbing.
Sorry, that joke was so 2013. And mocking a 20-year-old girl, or however old Taylor Swift is, is so not namaste of me.
While I know that yoga has its benefits, my previous experience has not been positive. Part of it is physical — someone tell me why I have any need to do the splits or put my legs over my head at this point in my life? The other part is very mental. I cannot be in a room and listen to a skinny blonde 23-year-old tell me to connect with my inner goddess. Seriously.
I told Donna, who is 59, as much. “I’m very glad you can appreciate 30 years of teaching experience,” she replied, with a smile.
And I do, very much. If I’m going to be open to some sort of an ancient practice, like yoga, I need my leader to be someone who has a lot more life experience than I do, who’s had more joy and more pain, and who has had more of an opportunity to develop empathy. By the same token, I don’t really want a 30-year-old psychotherapist either. That might make me ageist, but I can live with that.
The past 50, and the next 315, days of The Something New Project will hopefully teach me some things about myself, including what I like and don’t like. The goal is to learn to not assume I won’t like something because I don’t anticipate being good at it. What’s that irritating saying? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone? On one hand, I want to learn to get out of my comfort zone, but on the other hand, I’m looking to find a newer, wider zone. I like being comfortable. I don’t feel a need to change that about myself. I just think there’s room for my comfort zone to grow, and for me to grow within it.
Tell me one thing you’ve done to expand your personal comfort zone.
*Apparently, according to Urban Dictionary, a “Care Bear stare” can be taken to mean a lusty, intense gaze from one gentleman to another. As I am not a gay man, I did not intend the term in this manner. Apologies to anyone who is disappointed.
Admin. Note: I have started a Twitter feed exclusively for The Something New Project. Please follow along at @sthgnew2014. I will still be posting updates on my personal Twitter at @hollyleber. Please follow me there as well, because like 99 percent of people who have blogs, I am desperate for attention and validation.