Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
I had this opportunity recently, though I didn’t choose it consciously the first time around. My friend Kate mentioned that a local yoga studio was having a “Community Day”, where all classes and events were free. We made last-minute plans to attend two of them.
The first was a Yin Yoga class, which Kate said was a gentle, healing kind of yoga. I’m in! I have been an athlete all my life despite some pretty bad injuries and enjoy physical challenges. It sounded relaxing.
What I discovered was that in all the physical challenges I usually pursue (running, biking, swimming, dog agility and conformation, golf, hiking, weight lifting), I have found ways to compensate for my old neck and knee injuries. Being a novice at Yin Yoga and attempting poses I’d not tried before did not allow for this compensation. I felt embarrassed, humbled and frustrated.
Why was this useful? Because it made me confront some fears about being inadequate, not looking good and vulnerability to injury – and not just with respect to yoga. When we achieve competence in many areas of our lives, we tend to view ourselves that way and forget what it’s like to struggle. And you know what? We are surrounded by people struggling every day, many of them close to us. It opened up my eyes and my compassion to this. And when we do that, we are able to connect more closely with others and also with ourselves. That is what made the class valuable to me, despite my discomfort, at times almost to the point of tears. I wanted so badly to be at least adequate at this endeavor, and I wasn’t…