Trying to be Flexible Minus Being Neurotic

Yesterday, I attended my first yoga class in years. Previously, I had only attended two yoga classes back when I was in college…and it was HORRIBLE. I left the classes feeling more sore than I was when I went in. However, this time around, I figured I would give it a go. In all of my 26 years on this earth, I have never been flexible. I am the most inflexible person I know- unable to touch even my toes.

Yup. It’s bad.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the class, which was titled Gentle Yoga. However, if that was gentle yoga, then I am somewhat fearful of what real yoga is like. We went through a range of poses such as the “downward dog” and “cat” and modified plank…However, as I was laying there on my mat along with the rest of the class, I found my mind drifting- racing. As everyone else was focusing on their breathing, I was skimming through events that had happened in the past as well as things that hadn’t even happened yet. 

My muscles tense, we shifted into a different pose. I found myself secretly getting frustrated. Why was the instructor so calm? How was it that she could seamlessly shift into this weird balancing pose while I, alone, struggled? Ever the over-achiever, crowd-pleaser, suddenly I found myself feeling panicked. Was I doing the pose the right way? If I shifted my head to see what the instructor was doing, I was sure I would fall. 

Maybe that was the problem. Maybe I was too focused on doing the poses perfectly. I couldn’t keep up with her though. She, almost laughably, asked us to balance on our derrières while holding our big toes at an angle in the air. Surely, she must’ve been kidding; I could barely touch the tips of my fingers to mid calf- let alone my ankles or toes.

Feeling somewhat ashamed and disappointed in myself, I found that the most enjoyable part of the class was towards the end where she placed bean bags (which smelled like chamomile) over our eyes as we lay flat on our backs listening to soothing music. But I couldn’t relax. All I could think about was the fact that it was too quiet. Where was she? Was she hovering over me? I desperately wanted to peek out from under my bean bag eye cushion so that I could see where the instructor was. When I wasn’t obsessing over the whereabouts of our yoga instructor, I was trying to stop my mind from racing.

70 minutes of this.

My main reason for beginning to do yoga (as well as Pilates) is because it is my hope that being more flexible will help me excel as an athlete. Also, it is my hope that the yoga will help me to RELAX and be more centered; more focused (I tend to be somewhat high-strung at times).

I was speaking to a friend of mine today about my continued struggles with flexibility to which he responded:

You know, some people just aren’t hardwired to be flexible. You’re probably one of them- although I’m sure that the (yoga) class will certainly help you build at least a normal range of motion..haha….

I’m still hopeful. I recently took out a book from the library entitled The Whartons’ Stretch Book, and I’m anxiously awaiting the next class. Mostly, I want to be able to comfortably touch my toes…but being a little less neurotic wouldn’t be so bad either 😉

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. -Anon.

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