I was literally shaking with nervousness when I got into the car at 5:00 to arrive at the studio early for my 5:30 class (which is literally a five minute drive from my house). Anxiety much? I joked with my older daughter Leni before I left, “what if the other kids don’t like me?” We were texting but I’m pretty sure she sent me an emoji that was rolling its eyes.
I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom aka badass juggler for three years now. Leaving the house feels like a curveball being thrown at me — maybe that’s exaggerating, but my anxiety has definitely gotten worse over the years. I find any new social setting makes me feel like my legs are going to fall out from under me, and while I’m still outgoing, I’m also really weird and awkward. But maybe I’ve always been pretty weird and awkward.
The unknown is the part that makes us fear new experiences, am I right? Of course I am. For me it was, ‘where am I going to put my things?; should I bring my yoga socks?; what if I have to poop?’ Seriously. I hate to poop in public bathrooms. Especially when they aren’t single bathrooms, you might as well be holding hands under the stall with a stranger while you both drop deuces. Anyway, I got up to the studio and immediately felt a calmness. The vibes were positive, the space was warm and welcoming, I had pooped before I left the house, and when we walked into the studio I felt like Leo in The Beach when the urban myth beach is revealed.
It’s funny when you let go and allow yourself to take in an experience fully, I felt at home within the first hour. And I sweat. Oh did I sweat. We began class with a full hour workshop on Chaturanga — seriously, life-changing. My YTT (yoga teacher training) is lead by two amazing ladies, Jessie and Amanda, of aUM located right downtown in Ann Arbor — the studio is phefuckingnominal. Jessie has this quiet confidence about her, and she knows. her. shit. Amanda is outspoken and endearing, and has a background as a midwife. She said fuck and I was like, ohmigod, I love her.
Hearing teachers talk about something passionately, while they have the undivided attention of the entire class is pretty amazing. It was such a great start to the program.
I’ve been reading attentively, basically highlighting the entire book from our first reading. There are a few paragraphs I would like to quote, because they just spoke to me so deeply.
These are from The Heart of Yoga by T. K. V. Desikachar:
“Duhkha is a quality of mind that gives us the feeling of being squeezed. It is not to be compared with physical pain. There does not need to be any physical pain to experience the feeling of great duhkha. He level on which duhkha works is the mind. Duhkha is nothing but a certain state of mind in which we experience a limitation in our possibilities to act and understand. Even if we do not have a need to express our feelings in tears, somehow we feel disturbed deep within ourselves, painfully bound and restricted.” (pg. 83)
I have felt this way to a T. How was there no explanation to this until the moment I read that paragraph? I felt so connected to these words and it gave me the energy to move past my own shit.
Here’s another great excerpt from the chapter:
“Duhkha can even arise out of our efforts to progress along the path of yoga. When we see something that we would like to have, there is no duhkha initially present. Duhkha begins to take hold when we cannot get what we want. People often feel that they suffer from this kind of duhkha precisely when they are in the process of improving their lives. They become so thirsty for real insight that they cannot reach this new quaality of understanding and action as quickly as they would like.” (pg. 84)
This one resonated hard with me too. Everyone has gone through heartbreak before. This can be applied to that situation, wanting answers to why things ended or where things went wrong. This can really be applied to anything in life. It also goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy of desire. This is one of the reasons I have to repeat my mantra to myself whenever I remember,
You already have everything you need.
And it’s true. The sooner we can learn and accept that the sooner we can live a more fulfilling life, and focus on the things that really matter.
So, we have entered week two of my yoga journey, but I came down with strep throat and have been laid out for the past four days. Luckily, it has given me plenty of time to study, read, and reflect. I sure am missing my weights and yoga mat though.
Until my next post,