The Worst Class Ever

Yogi by the seaCreative Commons License photo credit: Risager

Like most people around the holiday season, I’ve been finding myself a little more than stressed out. On Sunday, I’m headed home to Ontario to spend almost a month at home, and although I’m excited and have a wonderful family, there’s nothing quite like the family dynamic to enhance those stressful feelings! On top of it all, my battle with my Grave’s disease continues, and I’ve officially gone hypothyroid vice hyperthyroid, which means I’m now increasingly gaining weight no matter how healthy my food and portion sizes or how furtive my attempts at exercise. I felt like all this stress could easily be reduced with a great yoga class, and since I feel I need to up the proverbial ante in the exercise department, I thought it best if I took a power flow class vice my usual Hatha class. Oh, how wrong I was.

I went to the class in a bit of a sour mood (considering all my clothing is now too tight and I was feeling rather sausage-esque) but regardless, I went to my mat, sat cross-legged, closed my eyes and tried to get into the frame of mind for a great class. But it quickly became apparent that there was no way to soothe my frazzled nerves, as I was rapidly annoyed with everything, and everyone, in the room. Why were there so many people there? Why hadn’t that guy worn deodorant? Why did that one girl feel the need to take up enough space for herself and five other people? Why, why, why? It was impossible for me to remain in the present. I was not off to a good start.

When the class finally started in child’s pose, I could hardly catch my breath, each intake becoming more and more painful until my lungs felt about to burst. When we stretched into cobra, my favourite pose (it’s when I feel my most powerful), I was gasping for air and wiping sweat from my brow. Obviously, this was not the day for me to be in a class, surrounded by people, struggling to breathe. My solution? I walked out. I left my mat, my water bottle and my towel on the floor, tiptoed out, and sat in the lobby drinking some healing tea.

When the class was over and I gathered up my things and walked home, then snuggled into bed with a cup of hot tea. I took a few deep cleansing breaths and then pulled out my journal and wrote about what an awful experience it had been. Why hadn’t I been able to perform well? Why had breathing been so hard? Why, on this night, had I hated my favourite yoga studio? And what it all came down to was my motivation. I had thought I needed to go simply because I was putting on a few pounds, and although we all have different motivation for our yoga practice, weight cannot always be the only motivation. Yoga isn’t just a matter of going for a run or taking an aerobics class; it is a full mind, body and spirit sort of exercise that simply can’t be done well if your mind is not in the right place or if it simply isn’t in tune with the rest of your body. I went into that class feeling poorly about myself, and then allowed that class to make me feel even worse.

So, to all readers out there, I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to you all. If a class isn’t working, leave. It is your right to pack up and move on out, and not every class will be one that works for you. But also, go into each class with the proper motivation of great health. And if all else fails, cuddle up in bed with a good book and a cuppa tea; somehow, this also serves to heal a multitude of wounds.


2 thoughts on “The Worst Class Ever”

  1. Thank you for reminding me that when a student walks out of class early that sometimes it has nothing to do with me and I shouldn’t panic. As a teacher I would much rather you leave than force yourself. It’s yoga, after all, and there is no judgment here.

  2. Charlotte Bradley

    Yes – it’s so true Sam. I think it is easy to take it to heart if someone decides a class isn’t for them. But like most things, you just never really know everything that’s going on … I’ve always tried to keep that in mind, not just in yoga but in most things!

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