Friday, November 12, 2010

It's not a Greek Tragedy. Get It Together.

I should probably wait until I've processed today's class just a bit more before posting about it, but I'm compelled to write about it anyway. What follows is un-edited and probably rant-y :-)

I had the day off from classes today, and I was looking forward to a 9:00 a.m. class followed by a nice lunch, some paper grading, and then a dinner with friends. Foolishly, I was really expecting it to be a strong class. I was rested, I didn't feel overly stressed, and for me, 9:00 is late compared to the 6:30 a.m. classes I usually attend. And then, I saw that a new teacher was gonna teach! It was gonna be great!

Oh. My. GOD. What happened in there was enough to send a seasoned soldier running back to his mama's apron strings. I still can't quite figure out just what happened, but here's what I do know.

The teacher, a Greek guy visiting from Chicago, I think, was just fabulous. I had never heard his name before, but he clearly knew his stuff and was animated and motivating. Some teachers just know how to get the most out of you, and this guy was one of them. But for no explicable reason, today I had nothing to give. Yes, it was unbearably hot and humid, but something was off. That "heart ripping out of my body" feeling started up in Awkward, and it just never went away. And during Standing Head-to-Knee, I started crying.

I went to the bathroom and something just broke open inside me. I sobbed as if I had just recalled a great loss I'd swept under the rug for years. It felt like I was caught in some horrible nightmare. To make matters worse, this was happening with a fabulous visiting teacher. I wanted to soak up every moment, and instead I was having a breakdown in the bathroom.

Perhaps out of a desire not to feel like a total quitter, I dragged myself back into the room. I wish I could say I found some amazing technique to calm myself down and get it together, but that didn't happen. I spent the rest of the standing series lying down and getting up, feeling like I was in a strange new world--in no way did it feel like the yoga studio I'd been practicing in for a year and a half. After the teacher mentioned he was Greek, I couldn't stop pitying myself by comparing myself to Homer. Or Odysseus. Ha. Terrible, I know. Funny the way we can catastrophize what's happening to us.

Fortunately, after the heat was turned down slightly and we got to the floor, things eased up. I was able to do all the floor series and really enjoyed the visiting instructor's amazing class. I really, really wish I could remember what he said, because the guy talked constantly during savasanas, and almost none of it was pointless. He seemed to have a very thorough understanding of how the body worked and what was happening to our emotions and to our spirit as we practiced. He had a very unique take on things--the class felt so fresh.

I do remember one thing he said. He quoted a Native American proverb (tribe unnamed ;-) that goes something like, "when we're at the breaking point, that is when the spirit will enter." He may say that at every class, and I've heard versions of that in yoga classes before. This time, though, it hit home. It may be of little comfort to you in the moment, but if it helps at all to think of it, remember that we're pushing ourselves to the breaking point for a reason. Something is happening! :-)

10 comments:

Charlane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlane said...

Excellent post on breaking points in yoga. Way to hang in there. Inspiring!

Take care and keep writing.

hannahjustbreathe said...

Ohhh, honey. Classes like this happen to all of us. We go in with the best of intentions, and something just HAPPENS. At least you went back in and you kept trying. Bravo!

Yolk E said...

Thanks, y'all :-) It helps to remember it happens to all of us...

ellelove7 said...

Elisa, I have so been there too. I've spent whole practices just sobbing. The fact that you were able to continue is so beautiful. There is something so entrancing about when the human spirit is broken and the body is forced to continue... Truly lovely.

Catherine said...

Sooooo... How did you feel after the sobbing?

I went through a span of several months (in 2006 or '07) where about every other class involved heaving sobs, occasionally to the point of vomiting. Then, one day, I was on the other side of that tunnel.

Muchos abrazos a ti, querida E.

lifeistooshortforlowfatcheese said...

Oh wow, that is intense! I had a few of those myself while doing the 30-day challenge. I admire you for getting back into the room and doing the entire class. ((HUGS))

Torri

Big G said...

Hey at least you got back in the room! Nice job.

Yolk E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yolk E said...

Thanks, Big G and Torri :-) I can only imagine doing a 30-day challenge! There must be many days like that, and then you gotta get RIGHT back on the horse.

Un abrazo grande a ti, C :-)