To me, being early is on time, and there’s no instance when this is truer than when I attend my yoga class. My studio is uber popular, and classes are crowded. I like to get there early to get a good spot.
This evening, however, I was running late. I arrived at the studio just minutes before class began. After changing into my sports bra and shorts, I rushed into the studio to find it… completely full. The only possible place for me to unroll my mat was right next to the teacher’s mat by the door.
Better here than nowhere, I thought. At least I made it here at all. But as I spread my mat onto the floor, I saw something that caused me to panic: instead of facing the mirrored wall, I was facing the door. I wouldn’t be able to see myself practice.
My teacher began class, her soothing and rhythmic tone filling the quieted room. I couldn’t leave now. I immediately felt uncomfortable. I couldn’t see if my shirt was riding up, where my arms were, or what facial expression I was making. I felt vulnerable. But this was the one hour of the day I had all to myself. I had spent the entire day in an office, and the entire evening would be spent catching up on chores, washing dishes, paying bills.This was my only Blair time, and could be my only “me” time for days. I had a busy week coming up and didn’t know the next time I’d practice...I had to make the best.
The first sun salutation made me feel uneasy. Where are my legs exactly? Am I bending far enough? How's my alignment? But as I continued through my practice, a weight was slowly lifted off of my shoulders. All I had to do was feel. That’s what yoga is about, isn't it? What does it matter what I look like when I'm feeling ?
The hour was beyond rewarding. I left the studio feeling better than ever before. Not being able to critique my every move in the mirror was liberating. While I don’t plan on arriving late to the studio next time I practice (I couldn’t even get a locker!), I do plan to look less and feel more. Cut down on the peeks, the glances. And instead just move.