Saturday, January 7 6/30
It was the first Saturday of the year, and as such, it was predictably packed. Mat to mat, nuts to butts. I positioned myself just behind A, my yoga BFF, in the back row on the far left. A isn’t a fan of the back row. She actually likes the FRONT row, which I am pretty sure makes her an insane whack job because there is NOTHING I can think of that would be WORSE than standing two feet from a full-length reflection of myself for 90 minutes.
SERIOUSLY. And do you know why? Because of eyebrows.
Yes, EYEBROWS. When I’m close to the mirror, I obsess over them. Ok, I don’t MEAN to, but I can’t help it! I try to focus my gaze between my eyes, but you know… my eyebrows are just THERE! And they pull my focus! And suddenly, they’re ALL I can see, and ALL I do for 90 minutes is STARE AT THEM AND JUDGE THEM!
They’re uneven, they need to be plucked, there’s a stray hair over here, this one isn’t long enough, that one looks like a fuzzy caterpillar ugh WHY WHY!? And you guys, I know from reading approximately one billion ladies’ glossy magazines that eyebrows should look like SISTERS, not TWINS, but when I stare at them long enough, I swear to god, one of mine was adopted.
So yeah. Not a fan of being right in front of my eyebrows. I mean, THE MIRROR. But A seems to enjoy it. HER eyebrows are EXCELLENT. Hmph.
Anyhoo, this was our compromise. I would stand in the far back row, approximately 928356 meters away from
my eyebrows the mirror, and she would put her mat in the row in front of mine, which was still the second row and not the very VERY front, but it was at least just one row away from her beloved mirror.
Crazy packed class begins. There are a lot of newbies. A LOT of newbies. The room is a bit of a mess. People are up, and down, and up again, and down again, and drinking water, and pacing their mats, and sighing, and fluttering their lips, and in general, it’s a bit of chaos.
I can tell A is annoyed. Here we are in the back of the room, trying desperately to focus on our foreheads in the mirror and hold our balance in Standing Bow, and the girls in the front row are obviously new and playing a very thrilling game of ‘Stand-Sit-Lie Down’.
I suddenly feel bad for insisting that A and I stand in the back. But at the same time, I love the safety of my little back corner! It’s so cozy! I’m in my own private little world! It’s like my own yoga bubble! Where I don’t have to look at myself! Or anything else! NO! Nothing can distract me! Nothing can possibly get to me all the way back he—
“ALISON! Get your elbows further behind your calf muscles. You can do this!”
HUH? That was the teacher. But how could she even SEE me with the mass of humanity in between us? And all the craziness? And the general mayhem of the first Saturday class of the year? I’m not sure if I should be flattered that she’s noticed and taken the time and energy to say something, or THREATENED that she was able to reach me all the way back in my little yoga corner! I mean, this is my safe space, after all! Where I’m out of sight! Where nothing can harm me! Where I can—
“ALISON!! Get your grip further behind your heels.”
Ummm. Right. Ok. Apparently I’m like the little pig that built his house of hay…
Shoulda used brick. OR shoulda just not cared in the first place.
Yes, all things being equal, maybe I should have let go of my eyebrow fixation for 90 minutes and sucked it up and moved forward. I mean, obviously the teacher could see my anyway. And was it REALLY my eyebrows that were holding me back? Was that the REAL problem here? Or was it MAYBE something else keeping me from moving to the front… something less funny, more real, more to do with INSECURITY and being OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE…
Ohhhhhhh you guys! There is always so much more going on in this practice than meets the eye(brow)!
Class eventually rolled to its end with all the grace of an 18-wheel tractor trailer. As the mass-exodus of newbies occurred, I laid on my mat in a sleepy Savasana, lightly contemplating the front, the back, the mirror, and my own psychological state. It all seemed far too heavy for a Saturday morning. I put it on the back burner, filed away under “Thoughts For Another Time”, and I rolled to my side, pushed myself up, and slowly gathered my mat and towels to leave the room.
As I walked out, a took one last glance at myself in the front mirror. My eyebrows stared back at me. Strangely, this time, they looked perfectly normal.
BIKRAM YOGA 30 DAY CHALLENGE LESSON #6: Sometimes (always?) the thing standing in your way isn’t what you think it is… Also, ‘Stand-Sit-Lie Down’ is much better suited for silly short-form improv shows than it is for Bikram yoga classes.