Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why I Kind of Suck at Yoga

I attended a yoga class today for the first time in months.  I rarely get to a class due to the fact I'm holding down the fort alone at home so much; plus, the fact that I'm still in a tight place makes it difficult for me to justify the expense, even for just one class here and there.  

So today in class I couldn't help but feel "behind" everyone else, that I was trying to join a class and catch up when the "semester" is actually almost over.  Once, even twice a day, I do yoga at home on my own mat, but it's never the same.  At home, I don't do things I don't already know how to do.  I don't think of what I do at home as real, somehow--like it almost doesn't count as a yoga practice to be proud of.

But going to class was actually bad because I left feeling bad.  In elementary school, I was always the last one picked for teams during physical education classes.  I was the smallest, the scrawniest, the slowest, the weakest.  In fourth grade, it took forever for me to get the volleyball over the net.  I lost the races, was always behind.  So everyday, I left P.E. feeling bad, fantasizing about being better, but physically unable to make that happen.

That's how I feel when I feel bad about yoga.  That what I'm supposed to be doing in class is never going to happen for me.  There is a lot of talk about being "where you are" in class and that the breath is everything, the most important thing, but that's not the way it feels when my fellow classmates swing into their asanas and vinyasas.  They move quickly and with intensity, and I can't seem to match them.  And I can't stop watching them.

I've been doing yoga on and off for about 20 years and when I first moved to the city I had a yoga teacher who was strangely bothered by my seeming inability to be "awesome."  (This was before there was a studio on every corner.) It actually made him angry, my yoga suckage--pushed some  major buttons in him--and for years and years I never attended class again.  

And I've always wished that both he and my '70s-era PE teacher knew how awful they'd been.

It's too bad I'm feeling so negatively, so tight about this, because I'm counting on yoga to help me through many things in my life (ironically, to get me out of my tight emotional places); on the other hand, sometimes I wonder whether I should be doing yoga at all

What about you?  What do you consistently practice that you still kind of suck at?

Sometimes I feel judged by the others.


  1. Dearest Julie,

    I so much appreciate your feedback and for you to so openly share your experience with me.You are an amazingly beautiful and descriptive writer and although I feel bummed to hear that you were unhappy with your experience, I also feel honored to see light into a new perspective. Thank you.

    I do understand the feeling of intellectually/emotionally hearing the "teacher" repeat that the practice is about the breath and the mind ,but then looking around and seeing the physical practice so equally mounted. It can be confusing. The word "asana" as your probably know literally translates as "seat." So this whole practice of yoga is just about taming the restless body& mind so that it can be prepared for its "seat" in mediation. Because obviously this practice is not about giving you strong biceps or abs ( although it can) it will go many layers deeper into the heart...if you let it........into your truest essence.

    That is why I think it is interesting to notice that perhaps your yoga experience in this instance and instances before is truly taping into the exploration of YOGA, because these experiences are allowing you to repeatedly see this part of you that has felt "left behind and inadequate." Because in all obviousness to me you are neither of these things. And within the truth that yoga shares we are SAT~CHIT~ANANDA full of TRUTH, fully ETERNAL, and fully BLISSFUL.

    So I humbly invite you to see this practice as a successful one, because it urged to you to look into this mind stuff,trigger old belief patterns, pushed you to write and express & now your opportunity to decide if these are the belief patterns that you want to take with you for your life.

    I would love( if you have time) to come to our morning meditations M>W>F at 730-8am. These are free and open to all. It seems that you are interested in exploring the true depths that yoga is here to offer, so working directly with the mind is most important.

    I also have to say that my so far experience of NY city peeps is they come to yoga for a "workout" of course with the added benefits of working with the mind and deeper teachings.When the body is working hard, the heart is beating fast, the breath is moving in & out quickly, the mind seems to still.When the mind is not moving there is an opportunity to see what is. So, you wrote me at the most perfect time so that I can remember that "we all come to yoga for different reasons & find our stillness in different ways"

    With much Love and appreciation,

    1. this is lovely. what a generous teacher you are, be love. maybe i can come with julie to meditation when i visit in a coupla weeks. i thought a lot today about humility, humiliation, and human-ness in connection with julie's post and your response. i guess the posture of prostration in yoga is meant to remind us of how important humility is, right?