When we are still in our twenties, we embrace yoga because of our beliefs, philosophy, perception, culture etc… or because we want to try a new trend, our BFF (best friend forever) assured us that it’s the “It” thing to do, the healthy discipline, the “exercise” recommended by fashion magazines and so on…
When we “discover” yoga after 40, we’re wiser, we know more about it but we are more insecure, more aware of our ageing body shape post pregnancy, maternity or simply…Gravity.
Clutching our new “yoga mat”, wearing our new, trendy tennis shoes (even if we’ll learn later on that we have to take them off) and adjusting our yoga leggings that we bought with the clear intent that it had to hide all of our body’s irregularities (the sales girl swore by it!),we enter bravely the lion’s den.
We select the farthest place from the yogi teacher to hide our amateurish attempts from her/him and mainly from the “pros”. There are always pros in any health & fitness classes. They are living testimonials of what we’ve always craved in terms of “ideal body shape”.
From whichever angle you look you see younger, more forthcoming adepts and old hands stretching, whispering and already competing to show how far they can go in the most difficult postures. Their mats are placed in full view of the “Master” to bring attention to their “1st of the class” somersaults and supremacy, which is, of course in total contradiction with the most basic yoga precepts.
You are full of determination and bent on succeeding if only to prove your partner’s wrong. He’s always teasing you about starting any training and stopping after a few attempts. So hopping on your fours, you try to follow suit but fail miserably. By the time you understand how to do a move, the others have already started on the next one, paused effortlessly and waited complacently for the teacher’s little pat on their head, a most coveted reward for their efforts. Then, perfect poker faces check from the corner of their eyes if the lesser-then-perfect have acknowledged their triumph.
You’re not defeated yet but your level of insecurity has increased dramatically. You attack the next posture fiercely and you find the teacher admonishing you to take it easy! “Yoga is not a competition! Do your best and breathe! Little by little you’ll progress.” You notice that you’re the center of attention and….the focus of condescending looks from “the competition”.
The moment of truth has come: You are facing a dramatic cornelian dilemma: Follow the teacher’s lead and overcome your insecurities or call your BFF to check about that new “Water training” she was ecstatic about, dreading already your hubby’s scornful look.