Do I love yoga? Absolutely. Am I eternally grateful for it? Hell, yeah.
Then there’s the darker side, beyond the shiny, happy point of it all.
Have you ever had a bitter hissy fit in yoga after being confronted with the gloomier, less joyful parts of yourself, the ones you’re not so proud of?
Of course you have.
It’s not a exactly a glitter parade every day with Rumi poems and fizzy lifting drinks.
It happened to me last week.
I’m in class, we’re moving toward Hanumanasana and I’m bracing myself for the emotional-charged agony of the imminent showdown between me and my hamstrings. And I’m breathing—and reminding myself to hold back—and breathing (which at this point can be better described as huffing and puffing) and I’m wondering if this whole yoga thing was a big mistake, and shouldn’t it be more fun?
Damn you, monkey god. I’ll see you in hell.
I bruised my rib cage last weekend from playing too much Frisbee. (That’s what happens when you’re in your 40s.) It’s not that I’m afraid of a physical challenge, but sometimes, the practice makes me feel downright antagonized, like getting a poke in the ear. I grew up with an older brother who relentlessly teased me—I really don’t need a wet willy from the universe.
Anyway, I hadn’t been that bummed out since “Breaking Bad” ended. Am I alone?
Have you ever:
Faked a stomach ache and walked out of class, like it’s 8th grade algebra?
Felt like a yoga failure when everyone is flying through Visvamitrasana, and you’re buried under a landslide of sound thanks to the cracking of your hips?
Found yourself angrier after class than when you got there because
a) your spot in the room was taken,
b) the teacher had the nerve to do Hanumanasana even though she knows you hate it and
c) you could hear people loudly chatting it up in the lobby during savasana when (clearly) all you needed was four freakin’ minutes of re-lax-a-tion?! Lordy!
I’m a little worried that nasty mat chemical has gone to our heads.
No, it ain’t all sitar-fun-in-the-sun. But you know what? It’s not supposed to be.
They say how you are on the mat is how you are in real life, which means there was a time in my life I would have sat right down in the middle of a hard-ass class, lit a Marlboro Red and started sulking. And now?
I don’t know if I ever fully appreciated anything that was ever just handed to me—not including the vintage Halston bell-bottomed jumpsuit with the halter top my mother-in-law sent me recently. I’m a pretty lucky person—I actually win money playing scratch offs.
But aside from the days when I used to bribe my way into floor seats at Depeche Mode shows, I’ve pretty much had to work my *ss off for what I wanted, for happiness and freedom, and for every moment of reprieve from the anxiety, the restlessness and the unrelenting crap that comes with this life.
“Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention.” ~ B.J. Gallagher
And with that, It all starts to make sense. Maybe I’ll switch to hating navasana, like a normal person.
Author: Anne Clendening
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author