On summer solstice I went to do morning yoga at 4:30am.
I think I’ve already made my point about how I am NOT a morning person. Not even a little bit. But there I was, at 4am, driving down the Eisenhower Expressway toward my bliss.
The yoga and meditating went for two and a half hours and I was tired for the entire time. The. entire. time.
Also, no bliss. I had no real aha moments, except that I am not really good at sitting still for long periods of time. This was not so much an aha moment, but rather a confirmation about what everyone who has ever met me already knows.
Anyway, so one of the poses that we did during early morning yoga was to put our left foot under our butt, bend your right knee in front of our body, and hold our hands in prayer position at our heart. For twenty two minutes.
I’m not exaggerating about the twenty two minutes part. The instructor actually said, “And we will be doing this for twenty two minutes.”
I think it is important to point out here that, being a person of size, it is hard for me to go to yoga without something to prove. One might argue that this is the whole work of yoga for me, and I would probably agree. But if the instructor says that we are holding a boat pose for twenty two minutes, I am holding that pose for the whole damn time.
To prove that I can. To prove that I belong there, with all my glorious rolls and curves.
So I put my left foot under my rear, and I went to bend my right knee and immediately got a charlie horse. I was just about to try again when I looked over at the people around me and saw that several were lying down, covered in blankets, and NAPPING! I didn’t know that napping was an option!
Well, immediately I put my legs down, or rather, my leg flung out in front of me in response to the spasms moving through it, narrowly avoiding my fellow yogis. Then I spent the entire twenty two minutes of the pose thinking about why it is so difficult for me to admit when maybe, just maybe, I am not able to do something perfectly.
One of the things that we love to say in education, especially we who are the innovative/edtech types, is that failure is one of the most important parts of learning.
Wow, do I ever believe that is true.
Until I’m the one who fails.
Then I think that failure totally sucks. Then I think it is the worst. Then I avoid and wail and kick and scream at it. WHY ME?!?!?!
I’m in the middle of working on several projects and overwhelmingly the answer I am getting on all of them is, “No. Not interested.”
And I know that someone once reminded me that J.K. Rowling submitted the manuscript to Harry Potter four hundred and twenty thousand times before someone actually published it. But when it is me who is getting the rejection letters, without any assurance that I will ever become J.K. Rowling, and a fear that I will forever remain just J.K….
Well, I hate it.
Yoga is good for role playing these life moments. You think you’re just getting a charlie horse in a ridiculous position, but you’re actually understanding something fundamental about the way you see the world.
I looked at the two women lying on the ground, taking a rest, and I wondered if it would be so bad to just sit for this one pose. Instead of forcing things into place when they were very unwilling to oblige, to rest for twenty two minutes.
No, I did not lay down. I’m not that evolved yet. But I sat there. I sat there frustrated and sad and angry and rejected. I sat there mad that I have something to prove and meanwhile my fellow yogis are napping. I sat there mad at myself for being unwilling to lay down and nap.
But I sat there.
I wanted to get up and leave. I wanted to decide that two hours of yoga was pretty much as good as two and a half hours of yoga.
But I didn’t leave.
In the words of Brene Brown, I stood my sacred ground.
Or, sat my sacred ground.
This is what it is this week. It isn’t a winning week. I have no trophies to display. I have no accomplishments to report.
Except, that for twenty two minutes at an absurdly early hour of the morning in a yoga studio in the west loop of Chicago, I didn’t do the pose the teacher asked us to do.
And for now, that is good enough.