I started doing ashtanga yoga almost a year ago. I went to the community class because a coworker encouraged me to go. She thought I’d like it, and she was right. I went faithfully every week even though most of the time I left exhausted and sore. I’m sure those first few classes I looked like I had no idea what I was doing (cause I really didn’t), but I needed to be at those classes. I needed that hour every week where I didn’t think about anything but what I was doing in the present moment.
I would always do most of the modifications that were suggested when I first started. In fact, I still do some of them. Because I was doing modifications I always set my mat up in the back of the class in the corner. I didn’t want people to see that I couldn’t do the full postures.
One class 6 or 8 months ago I arrived early as usual to get my spot in the corner. The teacher came over to ask another student and I what we wanted to do during class (hip openers, back bends). The class was great, and after class I went up to the teacher to ask her for suggestions for my tight hamstrings. She gave me some postures to try to loosen them up. Then she told me, “You have a beautiful practice, you shouldn’t try to hide it in the corner. You’re still seen.”
Despite what she said to me, I still hid in the corner for months. I wanted to blend in and not have anyone see me. Then slowly I started to come out of the corner. I moved along the back wall towards the centre of the room. Then in a class that I knew wouldn’t be full I moved my mat forward, away from the wall. It was kind of scary, but within minutes of the class starting I was focused on my practice and too busy to worry about anything else.
Now the middle of the room is my go to place to set up my mat. I find I can hear and see the teacher better. I don’t have to worry about my hands or feet hitting the walls in certain poses. It’s freeing to not feel like I have to hide in the corner anymore.
I recently had that teacher again for the first time. She mostly teacher prenatal and mom and baby classes, so I didn’t have many opportunities to go to one of her classes. She was teaching the community class again. As I was setting up my mat in the middle of the room before class started, she came over and said “You’re not hiding anymore.” I must have had a funny look on my face, cause she explained that she remembered me hiding in the corner, and was happy to see me out in the room.
In the months since that first class with her, I hadn’t realized the changes I had made. I went from always wanting to practice in the corner of the room to feeling good enough about my practice to not care where I had my mat set up or who saw me doing modifications. I wasn’t able to see that change until she pointed it out to me.
What changes have you made?