Saturday's yoga class was the worst yoga class of my entire life. I hated it. (Actually, hate isn't strong enough.) I fucking hated it. (That's better.) It was 2 and half hours of grueling torture.
Here's what's weird, though: the poses weren't difficult. In fact, each pose would be considered Level 1. It was a slow-paced class, but I usally love slow classes. The breathing was controlled. That's no big woop. She had us focusing on one thought. I'm pretty good at that kinda thing. There were no arm balances, back bends, or any other exhausting acrobatics. It was a total mind-fuck. Nothing seemed like it should be hurting as bad as it was. But everything hurt. Really. BAD.
I wanted to quit.
Cry. (I did. Reasons Why Meadow is Crying #43: Child's Pose Hurts)
I wanted to yell at the teacher. Call her stupid. Start a revolution. Set all of us free.
I felt like I was in prison. Completely and utterly powerless. And in pain.
And soooooooo angryyyyyyy.
I love yoga.
But I hated this.
I talked to my teacher later about this class. I asked her if she just had some magical sequence of movements that make people angry?
She laughed. (Which kinda made me want to punch her.)
She said she took away everything that is kind and comfortable about yoga. She said her theme was 'discipline.' She controlled the pace of our breath, when we were allowed to exhale, how long we had to pause in between. She didn't allow any movement in postures. She had no music. She even made attempts to control our mind-focus (evil Jedi mind-tricks).
Basically - she put us in yoga prison for two and half hours on purpose - to show us how crazy our minds become when everything comfortable is taken away and we are still expected to keep our discipline with our mind, breath and body.
Of course, sweating my ass off there on the mat - I didn't see any of this. I wasn't Zen. I wasn't Rowdy. I thought I was the only one feeling this way. I chalked it up to being tired and burned out after so many hours of working on my latest book. I thought it was because I need a vacation. I never once considered that it might be on purpose - and that it was ok to be mad. And to just allow myself to be mad. And to try to bring myself back to peace.
Instead of relying on self-care and self-love and remembering that I have a choice of how I react (Novel idea, right?!) - I turned a million pounds of hate on her (AKA: What not to do).
And this is so good for me to see. For all of us to see.
I could have just laid down. I could have taken a non-painful Child's Pose. I could have taken care of myself. I could have refused to let myself be so angry. I could have set boundaries. I could have seen that the moment I wanted to rebel I was acting like an emotional child and had unknowingly changed her into my Mean Mommy. I could have seen myself as having a similar experience 'with' everyone in class (connection) rather than thinking I was the only one feeling that way (isolation, AKA: my typical I'm-unlovable-and-broken response).
In other words: I could have been disciplined. I could have practiced what I teach.
But I didn't.
As my friend Kira says: "It's so much easier to think great thoughts when you're sitting in a multi-million dollar house on the beach."
This is so true. Rowdy work doesn't show up when we're sittin' in paradise all nice and comfy with an umbrella in our drink.
Rowdy muscles aren't needed for that.
Rowdy work begins when it starts to get uncomfortable. When we've lost our illusion of control. When we've forgotten that we have a choice. When we're scared. Or angry. When we don't want to forgive. When we feel like a victim.
This work is a practice. It's a practice of non-attachment. It's a practice of non-reacting. It's a practice of equanimity even when we're in physical or emotional pain. It's a commitment to self-care. It's a decision to choose self-love.
Because if I can't find peace on my mat, where-the-hell else am I going to find it?