My experience was a bit less relaxing than this...

I recently attended a yoga class, and I found out I am apparently not a yoga person. I wanted healing and I got humility.

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As much as I want to be someone who enjoys yoga and meditation and breathwork, I am simply not that good at sitting still. This was made apparent to me at the yoga studio when we were told to hold a position, and I promptly fell over. Not stumbled. Not wobbled. Fell over.

But that doesn’t mean I was just going to sit back and let my yoga dreams be crushed. No; for good or bad, I am persistent. I would try again, dammit.

I spent most of the class trying hard to keep up with my friends, who seemed to slip into the poses effortlessly. Not only were they in better shape than I am, but they were also better at following directions. I found myself sweating and staring at the yoga instructor, trying to contort myself to mirror her poses.

I hate to admit this now, because it seems so silly in hindsight. But I was getting frustrated. It felt too similar to being in a classroom and watching everyone else get something that you can’t quite grasp. My face was heating up, and not just from the exertion.

With a soft voice, the yoga teacher guided us into the crow pose. This position involves squeezing your biceps with your knees and lifting yourself off the ground so you’re holding yourself in the air curled in a little ball, with your palms as the only point of contact on the mat. My friends struggled with this for a moment, then, impressively, lifted off.

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Not me. I squirmed on the ground, less like a crow and more like the worm the crow would eat. Eventually I collapsed back on my knees, simply giving up. The teacher flashed me an encouraging smile.

“That one’s not for me,” I told her, a little self-conscious.

“That’s okay.”

My friends gave me upside down grins.

And on making eye contact with them, I busted out laughing. The thing is, you can only be embarrassed about something for so long before it becomes funny. Sitting in a pretzel on the floor, face still burning and trying to disguise how out of breath I actually felt, it occurred to me how absurd the whole situation was. And so, so funny.

Learning how to laugh at myself is one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned. It makes me a more laid back, easygoing person, and it also makes life a lot more enjoyable. Curled on the mat, I considered my situation. So I couldn’t hold a crow pose — so what? Not taking yourself too seriously is the secret to having fun, and I was having fun.

Once I figured out this lesson, the rest of the class became more exciting. I did the poses I could do and didn’t stress about the ones I couldn’t. My friends and I laughed together as we worked through each move, enjoying it and the pleasant burn in our muscles every time we pushed ourselves.

By the end, we collapsed onto our mats, exhausted and gritty with sweat and proud of the new things we had tried, even if not all of us had been able to fly. Maybe next time I’ll get a little closer. But either way, I’ll have fun.

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