I supplement my regular yoga practice with at least one hot yoga class a week, just to mess with my mind and to get out of my comfort zone. This morning’s class seemed exceptionally hot. I had taken a few weeks off because of vacation, so it was even harder to acclimate to the heat.
Our instructor took us through asanas I know very well from my almost ten years of practice, but in the suffocating humidity it felt like I had never done them before. Eagle Pose was suddenly that position yoga is often confused with – wrapping ourselves into a pretzel like a contortionist. Of course, everything seems harder in a 106-degree room, but my monkey-mind was racing and the critic in me was declaring war with my ego. I was humbled to my core.
I kept my goals simple: Be aware. Be kind to myself. Breathe deeply and often. And don’t leave the room.
I am taking an online course with Brene Brown, author, public speaker and TED Talk extraordinaire, who invites us to look at our imperfections – such as being humbled by our daily yoga practice. Brene is teaching us to learn to accept these imperfections so we can have more joy in our lives. In this process we are exploring shame, a cousin to humility, and the power it can have on us. Did I let shame get in the way of the learning this morning when I couldn’t do Eagle Pose? In Brene’s course I have had time to reflect on past shames in my life and, this time, I liked what I saw. Despite the shame I felt from them when they happened years ago, despite the deep scars I believed I had to bear forever, this time, I could see these experiences for what they were. They were a chance to practice the basics of what I believe in and stepping stones to get to where I am today. Like the heated room, shame can derail me – or it can empower me and remind me of what I know for sure:
“When the heat is too much, don’t be burned by shame. Just be aware. Be kind to yourself. Keep breathing deeply.”
Find out more about Brene Brown at http://brenebrown.com/