I cheated on my yoga teacher. I went to a yoga class at my gym on Saturday morning. Surprisingly, I liked it, and was able to do everything they did. It was a really different experience, though.
The gym that Kat and I are members of is awesome. It’s family owned, and the employees are accepting of Kat and her quirks, as are the people who are there to work out. Kat goes to the kid gym sometimes, and the child care workers have been nothing short of amazing with her. Usually, Kat and I just go to swim, but sometimes I put her in kid gym so I can swim alone for an hour or so.
When we swim at the pool, we play games, swim laps, and (yes, I know some people are against this next one) hang out in the hot tub. Because we typically go at the same time everyday, Kat knows the adults who are there to swim, and they all chat with her. A lot of them compliment me on how good I am with her, and how well I have handled some of her meltdowns– but never once have I felt judged or like someone was annoyed by her meltdowns. Joining the gym last year was a really great thing for us.
So, anyway, I’ve really only ever used the pool, and kid gym for Kat. I did a water aerobics class that I enjoyed last summer and fall, but then our schedule changed and I got out of the habit of going to class. Because I have been loving yoga so much, and because I have been in such a bad place, I looked at the class schedule this week for yoga classes at the gym, and found 2– maybe 3– classes that I could attend during the week in addition to my yoga class with Kris.
Saturday was the first one I have attended. The teacher was really nice, and I liked her class. It was strange to have poses called out, and to not talk about what I was feeling, or to pause and notice when something was coming up. For the most part, I was okay, but I did spend more of the hour in my head than I do when I am at yoga with Kris. With Kris, I am fully in my body, and really aware of everything. In this class, I started out like that, but as soon as we were on our backs and doing a hip stretch, I realized that wasn’t going to be possible. The hip stretch involved spreading the legs apart, which I didn’t do. I thought it might seem weird that I wasn’t doing it, but then decided that I wasn’t going to care. I was also hyper aware of the people next me, although I had made sure I was in the way back of the class, right next to the door. That helped, and it wasn’t so bad.
Thanks to Kris, I actually felt really confident that I was doing everything right, and that I could trust my body to square my hips, or line up my feet correctly for different poses. I don’t know when the last time I trusted my body like this was, but it felt good to do so. I didn’t know the proper names of the poses, so I had to watch the rest of the class and then follow along, but that was okay– anyone who was new to a yoga class would probably not know the names of the poses. Some of the poses, the class did differently then Kris had taught me, so I did them the way I learned.
Even though it wasn’t the same as doing yoga with Kris, I felt more grounded after class. It was good. And I did notice things coming up in class, in the same poses that they come up with Kris. Which just might be worth exploring further, I don’t know.
And, at the end of class, the teacher approached me. I thought she was going to tell me I had done so many things wrong that I needed to take the beginning yoga class (taught by the one person at the gym who has not been accepting of Kat) which I will never take. Instead, she told me I did a great job. She seemed surprised. At the beginning of class, when she asked if I had ever done yoga before, I told her I had taken mother-daughter yoga with my almost 5 year old (which is true, Kat and I did do yoga. We just only took like, 3 classes). I didn’t want to get into the whole private yoga lessons, or trauma informed yoga. So, I think it surprised her that I could keep up. It felt good to have the teacher of the class tell me “good job” but the moment she said it, and I felt that warmth of being considered good enough, I also felt that I didn’t need the outside validation. I like yoga, it grounds me, and it’s not about other people. It’s about me. And only me.