I’ve been looking forward to today’s class for so, so long. Based on other Master Classes that I’ve attended and on Craig Villani’s reputation, I was anticipating gaining a brand new appreciation for the yoga and a few handy insights into specific poses. I knew that I would walk out thinking “Wow, I learnt so much!”
Here’s what I learnt: Sometimes you leave the room. And it’s not the end of the world
I started the day by oversleeping, having miscalculated how long it would take to get to the Fitzroy studio. As a result, I ran straight from bed to class with little time to eat or drink before throwing myself into the hot room. I was nauseous, dizzy, and when we relaxed into first Savasana, it felt like someone had stuck a railroad spike into my temple. My sweat stank of sickness and my parched mouth begged for water even as my uneasy stomach rebelled at the thought. I struggled through class until the end of spine strengthening series, when the thunder of everyone collapsing onto the floor after Full Locust proved my undoing. As the sprung floor leapt and bounced sickeningly beneath me, I gathered my belongings and – for the first time ever – I left the room.
I know that I learnt a lot in the Master Class – I distinctly remember a few “a-ha!” moments, although I’ll have to dig deep to remember what they actually were. But for me, the most important realisation was that I left the room… and did it without self-recriminations and disgust. I left the room – not because it was hard and I panicked and ran away, but because I believed that today my body was not able to handle the heat and the yoga and I was choosing to take care of it. I’m not sure now whether that was the right choice, but I’m hardly consumed with despair at my own weakness or over how pathetic I am. And why would I be? All I did was leave the room.
I’m aware that I’m walking a fine line here and I was hesitant to post about this at all, not confident that I could explain my point of view correctly. I’m definitely not saying that leaving the room is a good thing. Obviously I’m utterly disappointed that it happened at all, let alone in a highly-anticipated (and expensive!) Master Class and in the last week of my challenge. But I never could have imagined having such a balanced reaction to it, and that fact has amazed and encouraged me. Even a few months ago, I would have taken this as incontrovertible proof of my unfitness to be doing yoga at all. I would have hammered myself down with reminders of my weakness at every turn, until I tearfully decided that I should never again step foot in the hot room, since I was obviously unable to handle it. Leaving the room would have led the belief that I was a bad person.
But now? I left the room. I am fully aware that, in all likelihood, I didn’t have to leave the room. I could have stayed and while I probably would have felt ill and unhappy, I wouldn’t have actually died and I might have learnt something by listening even if I was unable to participate. It’s probable that leaving the room was a mistake, but while I’m incredibly disappointed that I did so, I am not distraught. I do not believe it means I’m weak or pathetic, but I do think it was frustrating and unpleasant and I know that I’ll work my ass off to prevent it happening again. I am now able to acknowledge a mistake without using it to “prove” my inherent worthlessness.
That realisation alone was worth the price of admission.