Ok, well, there’s a bit more to it than that.
I love yoga. You might not be able to tell by looking at me, but I love the challenge of a good vinyasa session and the meditative effects it brings on. Its a way to find peace in my otherwise infinitely busy mind. However, despite my love for yoga, I always resorted to apps or youtube classes to get my bend on to…I hadn’t actually attended a yoga class at all. I just appreciated the idea of getting some exercise and meditation in without having to hit the gym.
Flash forward to the beginning of February. My good friend Penelope (who, I might add, is tremendously positive and encouraging) had been insisting I check out The Yoga Room in Redlands (shameless plug, sorry about it), so after about as much procrastination and gender-related anxiety, I relented and took a trip down there. In an ironic twist, my good friend Paige’s mom (yep, same Paige from some of my favorite photos) works as the studio manager. Prior to the class, Penelope introduced me to some of her friends and the studio owners, and not once did anyone even raise an eyebrow at my trans-ness. I normally wouldn’t place any importance on this in my blog, BUT I do think it’s important that my fellow trans people can feel welcome in an environment like this. I don’t think this is something the people at the studio even had in their heads, but it meant a LOT to me.
The class itself was jam packed with seasoned yogis but not once did I feel intimidated or inadequate; in fact, quite the contrary. Seeing so many other yogis gathered in one place but all on their own journey was inspiring, and I knew that even though I might not be able to do everything or that I’m a little (a lot) pudgier than anyone else in the room, I knew I’d be ok.
This wasn’t a hot yoga class, but the room was kept warm and humid, comfy at first but then became a sauna after working up a sweat. It didn’t feel gross though, but it reminded me to towel off and drink water frequently. The moves themselves were ones I was familiar with. Plenty of Down Dog, Side Angle, and Warrior variations to bust my ass to. But it wasn’t the vinyasas that broke me down, it was the instructor, Daniel, and his speech that absolutely reduced my ego to rubble for a good week or so.
Daniel spoke about the need to maintain flexibility, not just in yoga but in life. That the place I’m in today may not be the place I’m in next week, and that it was neither good nor bad…just remain flexible and whatever comes up can be dealt with.
Simple enough right? Obvious? Hella. But something about the grueling 90 minutes of yoga combined with something I needed to be reminded of just broke me down. I cried. Not just little soggy eyes, I’m talking Cornelius in Fight Club crying. Maybe I needed to let go of certain expectations, maybe the yoga just fucked me up physically to the breaking point, but either way I laid in savasana weeping like reborn soul. It was the most amazing feeling, the feeling of physical weight and pain having been extracted from the body.
I left the studio with this amazingly tranquil aura around me. I felt like I was even seeing differently…nothing seemed chaotic or urgent in ways that normally area. Maybe this is something that yogis regularly feel, maybe it was an anecdotal personal experience, who even knows.
I’ll definitely be going back.