What Everyone Secretly Thinks When Their Yoga Instructor Walks By During An Intense Pose

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I Sure Hope She Notices My Six-Pack

By the beach prophet

Donna, the owner of the studio led my yoga class yesterday.  She is legit.  Serious yogini, if there ever was one.

As I held one leg in the air, I could see the faintest outline of my abdominal muscles in the mirror in the front of the room.  She was walking in my direction as she led the class from posture to posture, and I heard the little voice in my head say: “Oh! I sure hope she notices my six-pack.”

I stared straight ahead in the mirror as she passed, so I can’t be sure whether she noticed or not.  I secretly hoped she did.

But that little moment of ego caused me to spend the rest of the practice looking into why I cared in the first place.

The justification part of me chimed in: “Well… you’ve worked so hard to be able to see your six-pack for the last few years.  Its perfectly normal to be proud of it.”

The teenage boy part of me, that has never fully grown up, stepped out from the shadows: “It’s important that she finds you attractive.  Very important.  In fact, your entire life and identity depend on that…”

Grade school me was alive and well in that class and dutifully made sure to have better form than any other guy in the room, desperately hoping for that little gold star and a pat on the head from the teacher.  (Grade school me knows its ok that I’ve never had better form than the super-yoginis in the room.  Their bodies grow differently than mine, and trying to compete with them was impossible then, just as it is now.)

And then the moderately-self-aware-as-long-as-you-don’t-point-out-my-flaws part of me stepped in to meditate the brawl.

“Settle down everyone.  This is just another case of the ego.  Nothing to see here.  Move on everyone.  Move on.”

And this is the beauty of yoga. 

Where else can we dive into the raw honesty of the beautiful mess of being human?  Where else can we be left alone to ourselves, with no electronics to distract us from us?

Where else do we hear the inner chatter so loud and clear?

And maybe- just maybe, where else can we hear the voice of wisdom that sits quietly within each of us?

Mountain.

Downward dog.

Cat-cow.

These are just many of the names we use to describe what is yoga.

Cobra.

Peacock.

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose.

These are some of the goals we might set if we spend enough time on the mat surrounded by abnormally flexible and strong yoginis/gymnasts.

But the postures and breaths are nothing more than an empty shell.  The goals and setbacks- cold steps on a mountain pass.

What brings life to yoga is the sorting out of the inner self. 

Upward dog… “I sure wish my gut always looked that tight…”

Triangle… “Does my butt look like that from the side??”

Tree… “Dear God, how am I going to face the loneliness today?”

It is the movements of the physical body that give voice to our ego identity. 

Our comparisons.  Our fears.  Our pain.

It is the strength of the muscles and tendons and joints that gives us a platform to face what we fear most about ourselves.

And once we’ve thought through all of these ridiculous notions, we are prepared for the most important pose of yoga- where nothing is required of us except to be.


Corpse… “I’m ok for this moment.  I did it.  If I can do this, I can do anything.”