I’ve been taking a lot of yoga classes lately. In these past few months, I’ve learned to invert myself in ways I never thought possible. I’ve stretched my hamstrings deeper than ever. Heck, I even bought one of those yogi-toes mats that I thought only dedicated yogis purchased.
I’ve become accustomed to different styles of yoga, different levels of spirituality that instructors infuse into their practice, and varying class intensities. I’ve lost pounds of water weight after hot yoga classes, refueling promptly afterward with wine, a hearty meal and a frozen cupcake or two. I’ve also tried to throw a little running into the mix, which resulted in 3.3 miles on a treadmill at a nearby gym I faked interest in joining, followed by the return of a few old aches and pains (welcome to my snow day Thursday).
Upon reflection, I’m becoming one of those yoga people I never thought I’d mirror in any way. Here I am, buying deals for studios all around New York to get my yoga-fill as often as I can. I make time for this newfound outlet in my life, but only when it’s fun and doesn’t get in the way of my silly food and drink adventures. But I’ve got a complaint (shocker, I know). A major one that’s been nagging at me for weeks, that’s only stirred by listening to incessant teacher appraisal.
So often I’m told during a yoga class that I should congratulate myself for being here, for being present and showing up to a yoga class on any particular day. For surviving the heated room, for sweating out Saturday night’s alcoholic binge at 10AM the morning after, for pushing myself to the max.
But wait a second… I’m here because I chose to be here. Because I’m a privileged, upper-middle-class white chick who can actually afford (with the help of groupon and livingsocial deals, of course) to take a class after my standard, nine-to-five job that allows for a wondrous social life outside of work. Or in my case, mommy and daddy’s bank account and a part-time social work internship that leaves me feeling overly privileged when I’m told to pat myself on the back for surviving an $18 yoga class.
Not to say that hot yoga, a tough track workout, or any type of exercise is easy. As my running blogger-friend Sarah describes, “running is about suffering a little bit.” But us fitness-focused-folk seek out the pain because we want end results, be it to become a faster runner, hold really cool balancing postures such as this, or attain an overall sense of good health. And the fact that this luxury is afforded to us – the ability to choose what in our frame of reference are a few moments of excruciating pain – makes us extremely lucky.