Sometimes I feel like 40 days is hard to explain to others, especially because I’m participating in the same challenge repeatedly and expecting new results. In all honesty, the reasoning is simple: it works. What more of an explanation do I need? It makes me feel great from the inside out, my relationships flourish, and I’m able to expose truths that help me hone in and go further in the direction of my goals.
I wasn’t feeling that vibe last night. After admonishing my son for being disobedient again, and realizing the Hasselback Potatoes my husband suggested required a cook time that would threaten the final (and necessary to move on in the program) yoga class of the week, my anxiety level was apparent.
Always quick to notice my agitation (and with the patience of a saint), my husband asked, “If this is putting you on edge like this, then isn’t that against the point? Doesn’t that go against the reason you’re doing it?” and “You’ve already done it before, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do it again” even, “Your friend just quit, its okay if you do, too.” He was right.
The three of us cooked dinner as a family—one of my favorite things to do in the world—and I realized how silly it was that I wanted to rush through the process. I said aloud to my family as we sat and ate: “These are the moments I truly cherish. I’m living the dream.”
Still, after eating, packing up the leftovers, sending the boy to bed and a swift kiss to the hubs, I was out the door and on my way with plenty of time to spare in case the incessant parking dilemma at my overpopulated studio waged on.
I spent my drive calculating the amount of time it was taking for me to travel to and fro, to a studio that I love while passing plenty of other yoga facilities that I haven’t even tried. I thought about how, though I love the community of yogis at this place, I’ve given myself a 22 minute—without traffic, one way—commute to a hobby, plus allowing for 30 minutes to park to account for a worst-case scenario. It’s taking me 2 ½ hours to accomplish one hour of physical activity. Is this what I’m a yes for?
Parking ended up not being a fiasco, probably because it was the last class of the week and few were as under the wire as I was. Early, waiting on my mat in the quiet, thoughts spun around in my mind about this commitment: “Why am I doing this?” “I’m not proving anything new to myself.” That negative self-talk propelled into a spiral of thoughts like, “I don’t belong here” and “I don’t even fit in at this place, who am I kidding?” (Which, I later realized, is always my default way of talking down to myself.)
When someone I met through the program arrived, I sprung up and began talking to her about the thoughts I was having. She listened with possibility and offered no pep talk, but did discuss with me the similar thoughts and obstacles she had been running into. The class commenced, and the instructor informed us that in lieu of her usual Rock Your Flow, quick paced class with upbeat music, we’d be listening to R&B in celebration of an employee’s birthday.
Hell yes; I grew up on R&B.
Songs with a history for me came on, track after track, with yogis laughing as we realized which it was. I assigned unnecessary meaning to songs like “Let it Burn,” and resisted shaking my hips as I sank deeper into crescent lunge during another. Tracy Chapman’s hit single from ’95, Give Me One Reason, came on as we arrived in bridge pose, the instructor turned the lights down, and what seemed like the whole room began singing the lyrics. We remained in the pose, and in our song, until it was over.
Then it rushed back: these are my [cuss]in’ people and I’m right where I need to be.
I don’t know all (or most) of the people in the room, many I probably haven’t even seen before. The fact that we all like to bend our bodies in different, sometimes painfully challenging ways could be the only thing any of us have in common, but I know it isn’t.
Many of us may come from different backgrounds and lead dissimilar lives, but we all have doubts. We like to be silly. We’ve experienced fear, sadness, anger, pain, joy, glory, pride and laughter. We’re all humans looking for connection and growth, and we’ve found a space full of others who are willing to be vulnerable, authentic and honest alongside us our journey. Or, you know, they could just like yoga. Who knows. But all in all, in every savasana, it feels like I’m home.
Because it works.