I went back and forth this morning deciding if I should go to Jess’ 90 minute Baptiste yoga class. I’m sore, bruised from martial arts training, and I’ve been struggling with my breath lately.
The Hot Yoga Spot, where I take yoga, has a March Madness challenge to take as many classes as you can, take photos, and post on social media and basically get more people into the studio. Although yoga is not supposed to be competitive, the competitor in me has come to life!
So I went to class. I was already making excuses to Jess that my knees hurt, and I was achy. Jess said to adjust, and so I went into the hot room and relaxed while I waited for class to start. As the 40+ yogis moved, the room became even hotter, almost unbearable. I wondered what the heck I was doing here, and how was I going to make it through, and how was I going to get in shape for my next karate test in June, and finally why was my body failing me? While doing the balancing poses, Jess had us stand in Mountain pose, (hands at your sides, eyes, closed, body tall), and breathe. It took a while, but I finally got my breath back. I had spent the first part of class worrying about how my body was feeling, instead of being in each moment and breathing through the unease, the discomfort, and the anxiety.
Jess is one of those teachers who speaks to you even if she isn’t speaking directly to you. Jess said that when we doubt ourselves and not share our greatness, then the world suffers. We shouldn’t let doubt or anxiety stop us from sharing our talents and giving to the community and world around us. If we do this, then we are selfish.
I doubted myself, and her words hit me and cracked that doubt. Who am I to not let my light shine on others and lift them up? I have a communal responsibility to be the best person I can be. That changed the rest of the class, and it also opened my chest so I could freaking breathe!
In savasana, Jess asked us to hold the hand of the person next to us. After 90 minutes, we are drenched. I’m pretty sure my sweat was on my neighbor’s mat and vice versa. But I held on through Michael Jackson singing about making the world a better place. I felt the energy of this amazing community that has been built through the hard work of not only the teachers who put everything out there each class, but also through the trust and openness of the wonderful people I am honored to lay my mat next to.
Yoga is community. Yoga is trust in yourself and those who guide you. Yoga is breath, life, and freedom to be authentic, creating a better world.