On Thursday afternoons I do power yoga. To be more exact, I approximate it. You might say that I re-imagine power yoga with my own angular and brittle je ne sais quoi.
So far, most of the feedback is negative. My body hates it and lets me know. There’s the sheer physiological pain, of course, but there is also the soul-pain of ineptitude and frustration. My ego would prefer that I cut my losses and escape to a guitar shop or bookstore or artsy cafe.
I try to stick to things that I’m good at as much as possible. It’s really not fun to wander outside my sphere of competence.
Did I mention that I’m no natural at yoga? My form doesn’t elicit admiration; the flow of my line fails to inspire other yoginis and yogis.
But I’ve been a resident of the planet long enough to know that feedback can’t always be taken at face value. There’s often a quieter voice with something healthy to say, and it speaks with the homey drawl of commonsense. It encourages me to reinterpret the pain and humiliation.
The pain in my muscles and joints is the voice of future flexibility. An expanding range of motion will make aging a little easier to handle.
And the humiliation of sweating against impossible poses is humility in seed form. When full grown it will counterweight my self-assurance and sense of importance.
Balance. It’s good to inhabit my clumsiness, to be present to my awkward and inflexible self, and to accept the comedy of it all.