Yesterday someone asked me if I was a yogi. I said yes, but immediately started with the internal dialogue admonishing myself and telling myself I’m not really.
She asked where I practice and we found out we have a studio in common. I wondered if we’ve practiced together before.
She told me she can do scorpion (not in a humble-brag or just braggy-brag way… just matter of fact) and the inner voices kicked in again.
She listed a few of her favorite yogi teachers, noting one who specializes in Forrest yoga. Oh, I steer pretty clear of that, I told her. The one Forrest class I’ve taken was with Ana Forrest and it was uncomfortable. I could see a flicker of interest that I’d taken class with the founder of the style, but then her admission: I like Forrest because it makes me really dig into my discomfort. Woah.
I felt like we were playing yoga ping-pong. Not competitive, but sort of feeling one another out. Since I’d read an article on “courting” friends yesterday, it was all I could think of. It was comical, but serious, but probing, but harmless. Then, in yoga tonight, a master class called Flow then Slow, the teacher greeted us and introduced herself before asking us to forgetwhat we thought we knew and who we thought we were. To focus on our breathe and our hearts instead.
We breathed into the front, sides, and back of our hearts throughout class. We twisted, balanced, and exhausted our core. I was this close to side crow. And, once we moved from flow to slow, I, for one, felt transformed. Open.
After spending the evening breathing around our hearts, dial into how you feel now, our teacher urged, as we lay with backs propped on bolsters and blankets. Take a deep, effortless breath into the front, sides, and back of your heart. Does it feel easy?
It made me think of something Gabrielle Bernstein said in one of her video blogs, about training ourselves to reject fear and embrace love, and about the practice and time it takes to achieve that sort of freedom. You train yourself to do the work by being present and aware and then, at a certain point it just happens and that’s who you are. You aren’t changing who you are, but becoming a truer version of yourself.
You practice and practice and then realize it just happens. It’s just who you are. In my yoga journey, I’m practicing and tweaking, learning and adjusting to become the truest version of myself, but that’s why it’s called practice. One day, I hope to answer confidently and without hesitation, a shared interest and love without need for comparison or self-doubt. Instead of feeling like work, it will come as a natural, easy flow.
Are you a yogi?
*Updated* My apologies, but in one of those little moments just before falling asleep I realized I linked to the wrong Gabby Bernstein video last week. This one is a little silly, but the actual source for the thoughts on being the truest version of yourself. Sorry about that!