You always assume you are the only one that needs fixing. You walk into the hot room ready to battle another 90-minute class, laying out your mat with a sigh as you anticipate what’s to come. The other students that surround you seem to have more energy, more understanding of the practice, and in every way look like perfect yogis with the ladies in cute shorts and tops with an obligatory messy, but not too messy, top knot in their hair, and the men in their tech tees and Fit Bits at the ready. You’ve gotten better at trying to fit in, but if everyone knew why you showed up to class day after day they would understand that you are different. You are broken and you are trying to get fixed.
This week I’m going to tell you a little secret. Everyone is broken and trying to get fixed. That girl in the front row with the perfect body is in pain throughout most of the class and masks it with a smile as she works to heal her injury. That guy that saunters into the studio and knows everyone by name has depression and lives alone. The woman who always seems so freaking happy all of the time lost her daughter last year and is learning to cope with her loss. The marathoner that always dons his latest race tee had surgery 2 months ago and came right to the studio after his physical therapy session. The size 8 used to be a size 14. The extreme back bender used to have back problems. And even the most flexible yogi in the room, might be able to pull off some impressive postures, but has holes somewhere in their life.
I honestly believe we are here, on this planet, in this life, to work for something better than before. Maybe not to fill up our holes, but to find a way to see the holes, acknowledge them and work our way through them. Yoga is one of the tools we have to work through this stuff. It’s certainly not the only tool out there, but it certainly is an awesome tool.
So often I hear students proclaim that they wish they were better – better people, better yogis, in better health, and better at relationships of all kinds. This is actually a great thing. You are looking to be better and do better and this makes you one step ahead of most of the world out there. Why do you think you are the only one out there that is seeking their highest Truth and their best Self? Why do you think you are the only one that struggles in the hot room and with the yoga practice itself? You are not alone. You are surrounded by different packages of the same broken pieces.
As teachers of the yoga we often talk about how we share each other’s energy throughout the class. You want to try and refrain from taking a break, being a distraction, or (horrors!) leaving the room. Why? Well, for 90-minutes we are all the perfect fit for what the others need and any less than that will make the overall energy of the class take a dip. Even the newbie in the back that wonders how everyone else is doing this crazy yoga is contributing to the energy, making us all reflect back to that time when that newbie was us and, in turn, we send them positive vibes of support and compassion.
When I am having a rough practice, lacking balance and concentration, I knowingly glom onto the stronger yogis surrounding me. I fall out of a posture and then re-enter it thinking of the image of the person on the mat in front of me holding it with strength and grace and suddenly I am also holding it with a new level of ease. It’s a trick I will use for the rest of my life, for we are all connected in some way while we sweat it out day after day.
I also use this trick in my life outside of the room. When I begin to worry about something or have something go seriously wrong, I picture how the positive people in my life might deal with the situation or what they might say if I ask them for advice. I know whatever I may be lacking, the way to resolve this lack is being shown to me in the faces that surround me day after day. The people in your life are there to teach you how you want to be and how you don’t. The tricky part is accepting the lesson.
I guess the message I’m trying to impart is that nobody is better off in the hot room than the next. We are all simply trying our best – in the studio and outside of it. There is no need to be intimidated or think that you are the only one that is in some way or another “broken.” In fact, over time you might find that what you once thought of as broken was actually the perfect vehicle for you to make the changes that ultimately have you becoming the person you always knew you could be.
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