Last weekend, my lovely friend Felicia and I took a yoga class. It was the studio’s grand opening and classes were free, so we naturally took the strangest one. Cirque du Yoga was described as a combination of partner stretching, yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage: we were sold.
We got to class, and it was packed! And by that I mean we were the only two students, but we filled that room with enthusiasm. Another couple joined after a trust exercise and some traditional flow yoga, and then the acrobatics began.
This class was fun and physically challenging, and you did so many strange things you had to laugh at yourself. The Thai massage portion in particular resulted in us kneading each other’s thighs, ending with a little friendly “blood stoppage” of our femoral arteries. Just imagine if you were the poor boyfriend (wearing very thin gym shorts) whose girlfriend had the heels of her hands resting on your crotch. He was a sport – that’s all I’ll say.
Before class, our teacher claimed that you could learn a lot about yourself with cirque yoga – people often say things like “you know, I think I had trouble flying because I don’t trust people.” This sounded like hippie nonsense to me, but this is coming from the chick who’s had a Reiki session and regularly talks about how the Universe is directing her life…so I guess hippie nonsense is kind of my jam.
At the end of class, Felicia – who is incredibly insightful, honest, and kind – said the teacher was right, and she learned a lot about me. “You’re really timid at first, but when you just go for it, you do great!”
This was a nice way of saying “when you stop apologizing for your feet being dirty or worrying about outweighing me by 50 pounds and start having fun, you do great!”
(What I learned about Felicia is that she approaches everything with a sense of fun and adventure – she tried all the acrobatics with gusto, not wasting any time on fear. She lives such an authentic life – I wasn’t surprised.)
She was right, of course, and it reminded me of something my friend said after an alumni event. During our bowling competition, I didn’t break 100 in the first game, and then I almost won the third with a 179 (unfortunately, I trash-talked myself into second place). The next afternoon, we played lawn games outside of a bar downtown, and after my partner almost gave up on me, I sank three consecutive shots, winning the game.
As I bounced around giving high-fives, this friend looked at me and said, “you know, you have a really long warm-up, but when you get going, you’re awesome.”
I think this is just how I live my life. I’m rarely the first to try something, and I’ve spent a lot of time berating myself for holding back out of fear and lack of confidence. But perhaps, when you step back and look at the big picture, all those times I didn’t jump off the diving board were just part of my warm-up. It took me a year and a half of living in Colorado before I put on a set of skis, but when I finally did, it was amazing. Next year I’m planning on spending winter weekends at Breckenridge and Monarch.
Each move I’ve made from Indiana to New York and now Colorado was simply another game, strengthening my fundamentals and raising my confidence in preparation for the championship round. I’m not sure I know what that looks like yet, but swapping my Honda for a Jeep, holing up in the mountains, and finally being able to call myself a writer sounds intriguing. In the meantime, where I am right now – living in Colorado, surrounded my friends who are smart, fun, and living authentic, joyful lives – feels pretty amazing.
And once I buy a bike and spring hits its stride, it’s only going to get better. Here’s wishing you sunny days, plenty of picnics, and the strength to try something new. Once you get going, you’ll do great.