Monday, October 11, 2010

Stretching out of my comfort zone

As I contorted myself into side-angle pose and inhaled deeply, I tried to clear my mind.

It is one of the things I struggle the most with: clearing my mind of the constant noise...the ideas, frustrations, to-dos, dreams, anxieties...the unrelenting noise in my head. No matter what, I can't shut it off.

It was one of the reasons I fell in love with yoga over 5 years ago: the poses, the balancing, the required being in the moment...stopping, being still--literally and figuratively. But this class was different...I couldn't still my mind, even when the poses required all of my concentration.

Because all I kept thinking was: I am so fuckin' proud of myself.

Yeah, I know...probably not appropriate to be cursing in your own head during tree pose...doesn't seem very new age-y and ommm-like. But I couldn't help it. I was near giddy with simple self-pride.

Life is filled with opportunities--big ones and small ones. But grabbing even the smallest ones can have a major impact on our psyches, our sense of selves, our well being, our pride.

Last week I wrote about friendships, and I mentioned that because of what I'd learned over the past couple of years, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and invite someone I hardly knew to "hang out." A minor thing for many. A major thing for me. As if that had not been enough, I decided to throw myself a double-whammy and go do said "hanging-out" at a yoga class at a real-deal yoga studio.

I hadn't practiced yoga in a loooooong time. And attending this particular class was not exactly super convenient. And I already work out plenty. And really, I don't have much room in my budget or schedule for another passion. And so I probably could've skipped it altogether. And I certainly have lots of friends already. And my social calendar is already quite full. And I definitely did not need to make a new friend or take time out of my week to sit post-yoga and chat over sushi in order to get to know someone. Really, the yoga class...the "girl date" was all unnecessary.

But not really.

Because I wanted to get to know this person. Because I want to open my social circle to see who else might be out there on the playground. Because I miss yoga desperately. Because when I attend a really good yoga class, I feel safe and calm and still and in control and quiet.

So all of it? It was necessary. For me.

But isn't that what we all get caught up in? Life's busy. I'll get to it later. I don't have time. I wish I could, but there's laundry and children and groceries and husbands and relatives and oil changes and bills and appointments and...and...and...

Attending this yoga class and meeting this person required effort. And I realized, smack in the middle of one of the poses, how incredibly proud of myself I was...that I had made the effort...that I had inconvenienced myself and my family a bit in order to do something I really wanted to...something that wasn't super easy, something that required planning and rescheduling and more than a 15-minute drive.

In the middle of the yoga class, our instructor was talking about being open enough to discover and enjoy "the full potential of this life experience."

I was struck by this statement. Yes, she might have been referring to life in a grander, more spiritual way. But isn't it the little things, the everyday decisions, that make up our existence? Hadn't I, by opening myself up to the potential of this new person, to this new class, stretched myself in a way as to better enjoy my life experience?


  1. YOu go girl!!
    I have a feeling you and I are on the same page at the moment, except I haven't extended myself to getting to know someone new yet. But I will. Soon.
    Thanks for the inspiration.'
    Also makes me realise how much I would like (need) to get back into doing yoga again.

  2. I've had that feeling before. I wish I could bottle it for those days when the effort seems like a waste. Your mind and body really do shine when you take the time to use them.

  3. I keep thinking about getting into yoga for the purpose of learning how to turn off my mind.

  4. Yay! I'm really proud of you. Approaching new people is SO hard and definitely one of the easiest things to rationalize ourselves out of doing. So I'll say it again. Yay!

  5. Love it! I am smiling at the wicked similarities we are having today! Great minds think alike! Namaste!

  6. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I've been thinking a lot recently about the same thing: friendships. And yeah, I'd be chanting "I'm the fuckin' bomb" throughout the class, too, if I had invited a new friend along and gone out of my way to make the girl date happen. But I'm not chanting, you see, because I haven't anything to chant about...yet. I'm still stuck on the "Why does it have to be so hard" part, you know? I need friendships to come easily the way they did in high school, and that's just not going to happen. Sigh.


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