"Does anyone want to share what their experience was like?" My yoga and meditation teacher had just led a small group of us through 30 minutes of mindful yoga, and to be honest, I hated every single second.
If you’ve never taken a mindful yoga class, let me tell you about it. There’s no bumping music. No strong vinyasa flows. No badass warrior poses. It’s just you, your breath, and your mat. You’re not trying to accomplish anything. You’re not trying to get anywhere. Your only job is to breathe, gently make your way through a few postures, and practice being embodied—which means getting curious about the physical sensations, emotional currents, thoughts, and reflections that are present in your body.
I raised my hand to answer my teacher’s question. "I don’t get the point of this. It seems like I should either be feeling the burn and sweating it out or resting completely. I just felt angry and antsy the whole time. All I could do was pray the class would end."
My teacher Kimberly nodded her head like she wasn’t surprised. Her response? "You don’t need to like it. You just need to keep doing it. Mindful yoga allows you to practice being present from moment to moment with a deeper, nonjudging awareness. Give it a chance. This is healing work."
My first reaction was to argue and get defensive. When I practice yoga, run, or do my high-intensity workouts, I’m aware of the physical sensations in my body. I’ve been an athlete all my life, and I’m super in tune with how I feel; I didn't have time for something like this. I believed this slower movement could work for some people, but there was no way it would work for me.