August 10, 2015

Honest Transcript of a Yogi’s Thoughts during Class.

Melissa Carrols Photo

The real story.

Here is what’s really going through my head during yoga class:

5:47 P.M.: Shoes off, phone on silent. Ah. So glad I didn’t talk myself out of coming here tonight. So glad I pushed through the slush pile of excuses—I’m too tired. I’ve got work to do. I should just go home, eat a giant bowl of pasta and watch 30 Rock reruns.

5:49 P.M.: This studio always smells so good, like a temple in Nepal or that aisle in Whole Foods that sells the expensive candles.

5:51 P.M.: Damn, my usual spot is taken; looks like I’ll have to unroll my mat in the front row next to Show-Off Handstand Guy.

Oh, hey there Ego, you didn’t waste any time showing up to class tonight. I release judgment of Show-Off Handstand Guy, whom will now be referred to, simply, as Guy. Why should I begrudge him his own practice?

5:52 P.M.: Found a spot near my yoga buddy, and a wall—dear sweet wall, you give me a wonderful illusion of safety and security in case we do some inversions tonight. Please, please Ganesha, please no inversions tonight.

5:55 P.M.: Shit. Did I put my phone on silent?

6:01 P.M.: Pressing my palms together, I feel my breath rise and fall in waves. Oh yes, I forgot how sweet the present moment tasted.

6:02 P.M.: Has my jaw been clamped all day like this?

6:03 P.M.: Breathe in. Breathe out. Maybe I’ll have leftover pizza for dinner. Focus, Melissa! Quiet that monkey mind. Breathe in light. Breathe out love. In. Out. Mm, maybe I’ll make lentil soup. Focus! Melissa! Okay, okay, here I go breathing in light, breathing out love.

6:15 P.M.: Helloooo hamstrings. Oh jeez, this downward facing dog feels so good and bad. Now an adjustment from the instructor! Thank you! I love you, you yoga goddess! How did you know my back hurt?

6:23 P.M.: Is yoga buddy doing One-Legged Plank? Well, I can surely do one-legged plank, too. Breathe, Melissa. Yoga is not a competition. Repeat. Not a competition.

6:30 P.M.: I feel so freaking empowered in this Ardha Chandrasana right now, balancing on one leg with the other stretched in the air toward the back of the room. Unwavering.

Does the teacher see my awesome Ardha Chandrasana? Does she think I’m a good yogini? That I’m worthy? That I belong? Are the other students checking this out?

Whoa, hey there Ego. No one cares about my Ardha Chandrasana, or what kind of yoga pants I’m wearing for that matter (which are from Marshall’s). Focus, Melissa!

6:31 P.M.: Breathe in. Breathe out.

6:47 P.M.: We must be getting closer to Savasana—to the dessert of class. I can feel it.

6:50 P.M.: Dammit! She just said inversions. Of course Show-Off Handstand Guy leaps right up. Okay, breathe. Check elbows, root forearms, lift those hips into good old Dolphin.

Breathe. Relax but engage. Soft and strong. All those Facebook memes tell me it’s good to get out of my comfort zone, right?

6:52 P.M.: Child’s Pose. Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s going to be okay.

6:58 P.M.: Supine Twists. Now we’re talking. Aaahhh.

7:01 P.M.: I hope I don’t fart in Happy Baby.

7:04 P.M.: Savasana. I can feel all that effort melt off me like droplets of rain.

7:07 P.M.: The teacher asks, “If your body could speak to you, what would it say?” As I lay here, my body speaks so much.

My shoulders tell the narrative of being teased as a nerdy kid 20 years ago.
My jaw holds its story of small irritations: lost keys, traffic jams, student loans.
My right knee teaches me humility. Its lightning-bolt pain, literally, brings me down to my knees.
My heart has been broken but she hasn’t skipped a beat.
My eyes take in so much beauty every single day: the shape of light against the live oaks, my sweet friends’ faces, the ripe strawberry from the farmer’s market.

Dear body, I love you. I am so deeply grateful for you. Grateful for these fingers and toes to salute the sun. To do crazy things I never thought possible. To experience the richness of this life. Some days I let the fullness of gratitude wash through me like warm water spilling down my limbs.

Breathing in, gratitude. Breathing out, you.


Author: Melissa Carrol

Assistant Editor: Elizabeth Brumfield/ Editor: Travis May

Photo: Authors own

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