My First Yoga Class- Part Two
I walked into my first yoga class and immediately compared myself to everyone else in the room. I was the only guy, the tallest, the least flexible, and I simply didn't know how to move like that. I had played sports in high school and was becoming competitive again since getting sober. We started with Sun Salutations where the second position is a forward bend and I couldn't even get close to my toes. My toes felt like they were a mile away and it felt like we did 100 sun salutations. Joanie later told me that we only did 5 sun salutation A and 5 sun salutation B. When we got done, I was bright red, sweating profusely and panting like a dog. I was so sweaty that I couldn't stay on my mat. I was slipping and sliding everywhere. The worst part was that I was getting my ass kicked by something that I thought was for girls. We moved through the standing poses of the primary series and it finally gave me a little time to catch my breath. I kept thinking, How much longer is this class? What have I gotten myself into! Out of the 20 standing poses only two of them weren't excruciatingly painful. Everything in my body was tight and all the poses hurt. This was also my state of mind at the time. I was uptight and uncomfortable about everything. I got done with the class and I never wanted to do it again. I hated it! It literally brought me face to face with all my Insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. I didn't know if I could handle that at this point in my life. I was beat down and in tears.
I talked to a few friends about these feelings and how the class went. They all urged me to go back and try it a second time. When I talked to my sponsor about it he said "keep going until the miracle happens, your higher power wants you there". I had a whole week to think about it and it seemed highly unlikely that I was going to put myself under that microscope again. Saturday rolled around and it seemed to just be in the cards that day. I woke up with this feeling like, "let's do yoga." I was blown away. Where did that come from? I remember telling a friend about this time in my life and that it was like my soul was just a flicker of a flame that was begging to get bigger. It needed an outlet to heal.
I went to class at 1pm that Saturday and I remember it like it was yesterday. I got there early, laid out my mat and got warmed up slightly. We went through half of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga and I felt like I was surfing on the waves, my mind and heart felt open. It was amazing and it was the first time in my life that I can remember when I wanted to be exactly who I was. I had never had that feeling before. Usually for me, the grass was always greener on the other side. I laid down after practice and I fell right into this deep space in my mind. It was like watching a movie in my head, unattached. It was what I call a "coming home moment." It was like someone whispered into my ear and said "you're perfect just the way you are". I had never had that thought and I had never felt comfortable in my own skin like I did after that yoga class. The first time I had a bunch of inner conflict but the second class gave me clarity. I saw those same insecurities that I saw the first class but I was different and unattached to the outcome. How did I get there? The only word I can think of is Grace. That second day of class I practiced yoga with total acceptance of myself and of where I was on and off the mat. My life was not good at this point. I was struggling to stay sober and struggling to find my path. That day I think my soul had found its path. For the longest time I was using drugs to fill this emptiness inside but for some reason after doing the practice I felt like the emptiness was filled. I was connected to something much greater than myself and I could feel it reverberating in my body. After that class I felt the value of what yoga had added, I had had this profound shift. I looked at Joanie and said I’ll see you next week and gave her a hug. I think I am going to start doing this more often!
To be continued.......