Weekly Confessional: Subconscious self-consciousness
I confess I had a moment of weakness yesterday. My friend and I showed up at our yoga class a few minutes early, and it was just in time to see a class of about fifteen people walk up the stairs that lead only to our yoga classroom. My friend and I looked at each other like, “Why are they going to our classroom?” Knowing this group would be turned away by our teacher, we stayed at the bottom of the stairs so they would be able to come back down. This is exactly what happened, but as the disappointed and perplexed people walked back down the stairs they were all complaining about the kooky yoga instructor who was preparing for her weird class.
As this rejected group congregated in the common area, they milled about wondering what space they were going to use to do whatever it was they planned. I couldn’t hear their discussions but I noticed them mockingly going through different yoga poses as they no doubt explained the injustice of this situation. My friend, always a bit of an antagonist, pointed out to some of this group that our yoga class always meets at this time on this day so we weren’t sure where their confusion was coming from.
With the stairs now cleared, we made our way up to the classroom only to find the instructor of the disappointed group speaking to our yoga instructor. He was speaking in a very confrontational manner that raised the hackles of both my friend and I. To her credit, our yoga instructor refused to escalate the situation to meet his posture and tone. She calmly explained that she had the space reserved just as she had for the prior six months. She told him to go check with the owner.
“That’s my wife! She didn’t say anything to me about this space being reserved and it wasn’t on the schedule,” the guy said.
Our yoga instructor still remained unfazed. “Well, go talk to her and she’ll explain we use this space at this time every week.”
“Well, I’m going to go check with her, so you might want to wait before you start your class,” he said like a threat before going back downstairs.
After he was gone, my friend, who knows the yoga instructor as a friend, said, “Geez, I understand the confusion, but did he have to be such a dick?”
Our yoga instructor shrugged it off and proceeded to ask us if there were any kinks or pains we’d like to make sure to work out. She showed no visible agitation from the encounter. I was amazed because even as just a witness to the dispute I was tense. I envisioned starting the class and having the 15 people march back up the stairs and trying to boot us off to some other space. I also envisioned this happening in the middle of some pose or motion that was easily mockable and some snide comments from people among the group.
Regrettably, I’m somebody who, at earlier points in my life, probably would have made fun of people participating in a yoga class. I have since moved beyond such silly hang-ups but I apparently have not completely shaken off a bit of self-consciousness that comes with participating in a class where some of the language can get a little New Age-y. To put it another way, I’ve come far enough where I can take a yoga class and not find anything about it “weird” or silly, but I’ve not come so far that I can easily shrug off the perceptions of others who might see it that way.
As it turned out, the guy never came back. No doubt he went and spoke to his wife and she explained what happened. Lunkhead that he was, he didn’t come back and apologize for his posturing or needlessly confrontational approach to the situation. But I was surprised how much the anticipation of him coming back threw me off my “yoga game”.
Usually, I can use the warmup to focus on my breathing and the movements to get outside of my head, so to speak. That’s a huge part of the appeal of the classes for me. But as I anticipated further confrontation if and when he returned, I struggled to do so this week. The anticipation of this argument not only crept into my thoughts, but so did the kinds of things that stress me out during the week.
Here’s the funny part. I was finally able to put it behind me by going through a process that seemed more New Age-y to me than any of our movements or any of the language. I imagined all the different topics flooding my thoughts as cells, like in a comic book, on a sheet of paper. I then imagined tearing this piece of paper down and wadding it into a ball. This was incredibly effective, but when my thoughts almost immediately started to drift again, I just imagined spinning the ball on my finger, Harlem Globetrotter style. This imagery occupied my thoughts long enough for me to get back to focusing on my breathing and doing the proper movements.
Everything was fine after that and the class was as refreshing as always. The other funny part of this story was at the end of class, our seemingly unflappable yoga instructor complained of how the earlier confrontation had flustered her and she had struggled to concentrate. It’s a testament to her professionalism that any stress or anxiousness she went through was completely undetectable.
How about you, good reader? Were you perhaps disappointed with how you responded to being pulled out of your comfort zone? If so, confess away and throw in any other stray transgressions you’d like to share as well.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.