The Voices in my Head.
*Originally posted April 24, 2016
Yesterday I rushed into the 4pm yoga class at Bikram Yoga Highbury & Islington in the knick of time. I had been coming from a Comedy Club 4 Kids gig followed by lunch with my friend Isabelle. This was the last class of the day and I was desperate to make it on time. I literally stepped onto my mat as the first set of breathing started. I was so happy and relieved I made it on time. The room was hot (like I like it), full of students (like I love it), the teacher, Sasha, was encouraging and energetic. It had all the ingredients for a perfect class. And as soon as we got to second set of Half-Moon Pose I thought to myself, “God! This is taking forever!!!”
People who don’t practice yoga often think every class is a relaxing get away from whatever is going on outside your life. It is assumed when a yogi puts their feet over their, that tranquil, quiet expression on their face is a reflection of how they feel inside. In my own personal practice, there are times when that Zen like expression is nothing but a front, and I’m thinking silent evil curses in my own head. Yesterday was one of those classes where, instead of paying attention to anything else in the room, I’m having an argument with two sides of my brain. I call those two sides “Encouraging” and “The Asshole”. They bat back in forth in my head for the whole 90 minutes like two people playing ping pong.
The Asshole: This is taking too long. I hate yoga.
Encouraging: Shut up. You’re just a little tired. And besides class is as long as it always is.
The Asshole: I’m not as flexible as I was yesterday, I thought a 30 day challenge was supposed to make you better.
Encouraging: It’s only day 4. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight you know. You have to be consistent.
The Asshole: I used to be good a this. I used to be a competitor! I’m getting worse.
Encouraging: Will you just shut up and do the damn posture!
The Asshole: My arms hurt.
Encouraging: Just hold them up a little longer.
The Asshole: If by a little longer, you mean forever.
Encouraging: I’m starting to lose my patience with you.
The Asshole: You’re breath stinks. You should stop drinking coffee right before class.
Eventually both sides of my mind are arguing while my body sweats and moves through class until it’s the end and I lie in savanna and the voices finally quiet. I’d be lying if I said afterwards I felt better. I still felt sore, tired, and stiff after. Not every class is a win, some are just draws. But as I hang my mat up in the back of the room and head for the shower, I remind myself what my former boss Erik Cummings used to say often at the end of class, “The only bad yoga class is the one you don’t go to.”