Since our Founding Memberships went on sale a few days ago, seven people have purchased year-long memberships to a yoga studio they have never seen, because it isn't even built yet. I haven't met most of these people, but I can tell you they have a lot to teach us. They know how to do possibly one of the most important things in human life: They know how to leap.
You know, leaping. Like when you come to a giant, muddy puddle at the foot of your driveway, and the whole world is waiting on the other side- but you're not wearing your rain boots and it's hard to gauge the depth or whether your legs are long enough to make it across. It's tempting to walk around. Or even go back inside and wait for the sun to come out and dry things up! (Heh. Can you tell I'm originally a Californian?) Anyway, those are very practical solutions, and there's nothing wrong with them. Some of us, though... maybe we back up a bit, get something of a running start- and we leap the hell over that puddle and get on with the day.
Bikram Yoga St. Johns was a leap for us. When we found out we were going to be parents, my first impulse was to say "Let's wait with the business." We were going to have a baby to consider, after all! I wanted to go back inside and wait till the puddle dried, get an office job and put the kid in daycare. Save money. Play it safe.
It can be that way with the yoga sometimes, too. For many of us it was a huge leap to get to that first class, that's for sure. We had to get over worries about the heat, the fear of being vulnerable and sweaty in a room full of the beautiful people, concern that our bodies were somehow not up to the task- we had to let all that go and just leap ourselves into the hot room. And there are days like that even after practicing for years- coming back after an illness, or maybe just feeling really out of sorts and like we might not make it through two sets of half moon. If we go to class, we risk feeling uncomfortable, imperfect, even having to sit out a posture or three. On those days it feels much safer to stay on the couch and scroll through Facebook and let the hours pass us by.
But. Do you remember how you felt after your very first class? Have you had one of those "iffy" days, and then you go to class anyway? I know I have, and I've never regretted it. It's not always pretty, but in my experience you always feel better when you leap.
It certainly would have been easier for us to put the studio on hold. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been more responsible. But that puddle wasn't going anywhere! And did we want to teach our children to play it safe? That seems less responsible.
I'm not concerned about this community at all. It is being founded as we speak by people who are not afraid to take a chance. These people will build the kind of community that jumps in with all it's got. They will inspire new students to try that scary first class, they will make our studio vibrate with an adventurous spirit. Together with them- with you- we are setting exactly the example we want to set for our daughter.
Together, we will make this the best leap we all ever took!
Two (whirlwind) weeks ago, I took a 9 a.m. class, showered and dressed and toddled on home. The next evening, my daughter Alva was born. It was a relatively fast delivery, and while it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I suffered very little and our home birth made for a smooth transition back to "normal."
But everything changed: I now wear my yoga tops as nursing bras.
I (happily!) spend hours on the couch with a tiny person sleeping on my chest. My abs ache after a walk to the corner store. I was advised by my midwives not to forward-bend for the first couple of weeks, to give my uterus time to heal before moving it around inside my body. It makes sense, but I am definitely looking forward to some padha-hastasana as soon as possible.
Bikram likes to say that yoga is "the only subject where the object is you." That has always resonated with me: it's not how your postures look, it's not even whether you do all the postures today- it's about giving yourself what you need.
In this new chapter, with a baby at home and a business to open in a few short months, it can be a challenge to find time where "the object" is me. But it's essential. It is. It is why so many working mothers find a way to make yoga a regular part of their busy lives. It is why 9-to-5-ers wake up before dawn to squeeze in a class before heading to the office. It is why we show up: even injured, even sick, even overtired, stressed-out or grumpy. Even in love, or pregnant, or with a new baby we want to be with all the time! We make time to do this for ourselves, because we know life is better when we do.
This morning after Alva's second (or was it third?) breakfast, I tucked her back in with my husband, tiptoed out to the living room and rolled out my mat for the first time in two weeks. I did some pranayama breathing. I did some gentle stretching. I did a good, long savasana. I didn't break a sweat, I didn't raise my heart rate. I just showed up for my self.
And when my hungry little girl whimpered from the bedroom, I rose up lightly, feeling refreshed and absolutely content to make her the object of the rest of my day.
HHY Founder, Yoga Business Coach, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay Afif!