Monday night is my yoga night. I’ve been going to this really mellow evening class for a year now and I have to say it’s without question one of the five best things I’ve ever done for myself.
Here’s the thing. I am not athletic. Never have been, really tried to be. But while I have an excellent batting stance and am actually kind of a force to be reckoned with in floor hockey and pin guard, I just don’t have the constitution of an athlete.
I have lots of friends who run, some more than others, and they swear it’s the best thing ever. But there is not even a little part of me that wants to run.
I like swimming, I like riding my bike, I like to ski. I really like dressing like someone who takes fitness seriously (pretty sure my back fat gives me away). But what I lack, I’ve come to realize, is that inner drive that makes a person decide they would rather go outside and run or head to the gym and sweat than snuggle up with Hulu. I don’t have the drive to improve my time or push myself for another mile or whatever it is you people tell yourselves when you’re out there.
Yoga, for all kinds of reasons, is a whole other experience for me. It helps that the class I go to is taught by a friend I adore and that other friends I adore are on the mats next to me. And there’s the whole inner work part of yoga, but that seems to be another post. So I’ll say this–in large part, what works for me is that yoga is about what my body can do, not what it can’t.
Like pretty much every woman I know, I have a complicated relationship with my body. It’s never looked like I want it to–something I care less about as life goes on–and it hasn’t always performed like I’d like it to. I don’t run fast, I can’t throw very far, I have terrible lung capacity, etc. But I can work a yoga mat.
I have found myself to be stronger than I suspected. I haven’t mastered any impressive poses yet–last night I toppled over headfirst while working on “crow”–but every week I feel my body working better than I expected it to, moving the way I want it to, holding me up, supporting me. And I find myself pushing it to work a little more, to bend a bit deeper, to hold a bit longer.
Yoga feels like a way of making peace with my physical self, of appreciating my body for being big-ish and strong and stable, instead of constantly thinking about all the ways it’s not what I want it to be. And for that, I’m beyond grateful.
But I’m still not going to run.