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.