I’ve been practicing yoga for over a year now, and it still amazes me how many life lessons one can learn while twisting herself into seemingly random shapes on a rectangular slab of latex. What’s more is that this is all done in front of other people. We squirm, we fall, we contort, we make strange noises as we twist – usually in tight pants and in a room heated so hot that sweat pours down from our foreheads to the floor like monsoon rain. It doesn’t really sound like a pretty picture, does it?
But it is so pretty, right? It’s a room of often very “type-A” individuals letting go of inhibitions and purposefully throwing perfection out the window – in front of other human beings, human beings that are capable of judgment. Worries are cast aside for the sake of being one with the room and with ourselves. Seemingly un-calm-able minds like my own are quiet, if only for 55 minutes. We fall out of crow poses flat on our faces and stick our rear ends into the air, as if to say: does it really matter if anyone judges? And half the time we think they are – are they, really? I contend they are not.
Last week, I was having a DAY. You know the kind: alarm clock doesn’t wake you in time, traffic, trouble, turmoil, the works, then repeat. I felt impatient, anxious, and out-of-sorts. I felt the tension rising in my neck. Then, I felt myself worried about being worried: was I falling out of all my work to be calm, my positive patterns, my own standards for myself? Why can’t I just be calm in moments of stress, if I truly know they are always fleeting, if I know they just aren’t important?
Then I remembered yoga class, just a few days before that. Tree pose. I am generally comfortable in this position, and have been for a while, so I tried to go the more advanced route as offered in class for the first time. But, then, I suddenly felt worried: I was sort-of off balance that day, and I felt shaky. Would I fall? Then, another thought: hello, you’re in a yoga class – don’t worry, you crazy woman! Stop worrying!
More thoughts: I was worrying now about being worried. I was judging myself for worrying in the middle of a yoga class. And, then, before I could even try to morph myself into the advanced pose: I tumbled, and hard. My mind had won.
The lesson, green monsters: stop worrying about being worried. It is only natural because we are human beings. For all of the zen we put ourselves through in yoga classes, in reading books, in keeping a meditative state, there will always be the conversely crazy outside world. So many things are out of our control, and we will, no matter how many times we tell ourselves to breathe, occasionally feel anxiety when things just don’t line up.
The worry will be there from time to time, so we must sit with it, feel it. We must do anything but try to immediately force it way. Because when we focus on it – when we bash ourselves for worrying, whether in a negative or even a positive way – we are giving it power. It is better, then, to be present in the moment, feel the anxiety, and then move into the next moment, free of any judgment of self, worries and all.
Image Source: lululemon athletica/Flickr