So Then I Go And Blow All My Kindness Karma In One Fell Swoop


One of the doctor’s requirements to keep this horrible panic/anxiety manageable is yoga. Not a tough regimen for me to follow since I happen to love yoga. I have lots of yoga tapes (Rodney Yee and Steve Ross are my personal favorites). I have the discipline to practice yoga on my own or with others.  I have the mat, strap, block and cute yoga clothes that I actually wear to do yoga.

What is difficult is finding a great yoga instructor.

But I’ve found one. She is amazing. Let’s call her Belle. At the gym, when I was checking out the class to see if I was actually going to join, I tried Belle’s class first. I was in heaven. She is knowledgeable. She has the perfect pace for any degree of difficulty. She is personable, interesting and fun. I was sold and signed up on the spot.

And I love going to yoga class.

Unless Belle isn’t there. Or, should I say, unless Ursula is teaching.

Now Ursula (not her real name, of course) is not a horrible person. She just hates yoga and you can tell. Her true love is the strength training class she teaches just before yoga. If I had taken her yoga class first I never would have joined the gym. While she may know what a pose is called and how to demonstrate it, she has no clue how to get from one pose to the next. She doesn’t practice a true yoga flow. She doesn’t warm the class up. It’s as if she looked at a yoga cookbook minutes before class and said, “I’ll do this pose and this pose and this pose and that should do it.” Slam the book shut. Go to class. Bark the commands.

“Breatheinbreatheout,” she says, jammed all together, not telling us that as we push up into cobra we should be breathing in and pushing back into downward dog we should exhale. She just says, “Breatheinbreatheout” every few minutes. A reminder to keep breathing, I suppose.

I have suffered through her class a few times. The last time, while I was doing poses I had no business doing because I wasn’t properly warmed and ready, I swore, “Never again.” If she’s there, I’ll just walk out.

For passive, non-confrontational me? That’s a tall order to fill.

Today, walking into the building, I see the 8 o’clock class letting out at 8:57. A little early. For Belle, anyway. She’s chatty. Her classes always run late. That was my first clue. I see a fellow yogi. “Are you going to class?” I ask. She smiles a feeble smile and shrugs. My second clue.

With backpack and yoga mat slung over my shoulder, I skip the locker room to peek into the yoga studio to see who is teaching. Gingerly, I push the door open just enough to poke my head through.


Who should be standing smack dab in front of me? Ursula. That’s who.

“Hi,” she says brightly.

“Hello,” I respond.

Just Ursula. No one else in the room. I panic, imagining myself alone. With her. Doing cookbook yoga.

Face crestfallen, I begin to back out, remembering my promise to myself.

“Oh,” she says, her face falling, too. “You’re not staying?”

“Nope.” I turn on my heel and hightail it out of there.

No explanation. No excuse. Just “Nope.”

I feel horrible but I’m determined not to suffer through another one of her classes.

And my response to Ursula’s question. That was mean enough, right?


I don’t stop there.

Another yoga classmate, a newbie, is walking in as I am walking out. She recognizes me.

“You’re leaving already?” she asks.

I proceed to tell her exactly why I’m leaving and convince her not to go to class either.

It’s official. I’m an idiot. I’m a terrible, horrible person.

I think I just failed this Kindness project in one fell swoop.





Filed under Confessions

10 responses to “So Then I Go And Blow All My Kindness Karma In One Fell Swoop

  1. Jane! That is not horrible. You said to yourself that Ursula’s yoga hurts you. It throws you out of whack not into whack.
    Fact: you looked into the room and decided not to stay.
    Ursula could assume that’s about her, but she could also assume you were looking for a friend. She didn’t say, “You’re not running away because of me, are you?” That answer would need to be nuanced. “Nope” is fine for the question asked.

    Fact: How Ursula takes that answer is up to her. She could think it’s about her and get additional feedback from other students. And then adjust or not as she sees fit. She could also assume it’s not about her and not change, ever.

    Fact: You told another student that you don’t like Ursula’s yoga. That student will be spared an uncomfortable experience. You didn’t convince her with gossip or lies or ill will. You convinced her with experiential details. That’s just straight up friendly.

    None of the things you did were harmful or bad or mean spirited. In fact, they seem rather powerful, helpful, and self aware. Sounds like the prescription for yoga is working! 😉

  2. You had a human reaction. Sometimes we need a little more prep time than that. Sometimes it is what it is.

    And why was the room empty? Did everyone get a case of Ursula-itis?

    My wife and I have a restaurant we’ve really come to love. We go on Tuesday nights for their hot deal of the week. All of the servers are awesome people. I was about to go on Yelp and give them five stars.

    Then one Tuesday we had a different server. Everything that could be horrible about the experience was. I was tempted to give them one star but I decided to wait.

    Our new plan is to go back on Tuesday and walk right on in. If we see her, we’ll do a 180 and walk right back out. Sounds like a good plan to me. 🙂

  3. Steven Harris

    I don’t think it blows anything. You were true to yourself and that’s an important thing to give to the world too, isn;t it? I admire your ability to carry out a plan of action you had promised yourself you’d do. I know it can be so hard to do this, when it comes to the crunch few of us relish confrontation or want others to be upset. But you were protecting your own heart and standing up for your own needs too. These are as important as anyone else’s in the world. Honest. 🙂

  4. When you’re in trouble, or you think you’re in trouble, it’s so nice to know your friends are there to give you support. Thanks everyone for your kind words!

  5. jkm7

    I think naptimewriting hit it right on the nose. Don’t feel too bad. No point in staying in a class that makes you sour. It kind of defeats the entire idea of yoga. Being non-confrontational myself, you could try asking your instructor to try and give a head’s up to everyone when she plans to be gone and then you can stay and practice at home on your own and avoid all the negative awkwardness with Ursula when possible. 🙂

  6. Saying “No” without explanation is a liberating experience. Embrace it, enjoy it.

  7. The gym needs to know that Ursala is just not a yoga instructor. Nothing against her personally….just don’t assign her yoga. They may get that message if people stop going. They’ll get that message better if people just tell them the truth.

  8. I like how you said no and didn’t offer an explanation. I think that is an empowered response and it is up to the person receiving it to fill in the blanks. Your kindness project also includes you too, Jane. When you know something does not work for you and step away, you are practicing self-love, the ultimate type of kindness.

  9. The overwhelming consensus in teh comments (and I agree) is that this doesn’t wipe out your karma at all.
    And at the same time as protecting yourself, you did something you said was hard for you – stood up for yourself to someone else.

    You should also get karma points for being good to yourself…

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