I packed my yoga materials and carried them with me all day; I even developed a clever way to fasten my yoga mat to the outside of my backpack in a streamlined, non-intrusive manner. I was completely prepared to head to the Bikram studio. However, this afternoon, I wanted to go straight home.
For the past three months, I had devoted an incredible amount of time into writing a major term paper for a history course I’m taking. I handed the paper in yesterday, which was a relief, but recently I had been so consumed with last-minute revisions; I haven’t practiced yoga at all for six days.
It has been a long week, and I was exhausted; so many thoughts emerged inside my head convincing me to just forget about going to yoga tonight. And those thoughts were winning.
Then I realized that anything that I ended up doing in the yoga room would be better than not going at all. What did I have to lose? Yet, why was I still so hesitant? Once I thought about it, I realized that all my apprehensions stemmed from the fear that I would struggle in class and have a difficult time.
So I challenged myself: honestly, what is the worst that could happen? In the context of a Bikram class, maybe I actually do have a rough time, sit out many postures, or at most leave the room. That’s it. That’s as bad as it gets. Written out and put in perspective, it really is not catastrophic at all.
We all have those to-do’s (could be anything, from a dreaded meeting to writing a frustrating letter) that fill us with anxiety, and we worry that something “bad” will happen or something will go “wrong.” But bad and wrong are vague terms, ambiguous excuses. Are we just causing ourselves more pressure by worrying? It is so easy to get caught up in a cycle of anxiousness and stress. Instead, take the time to ask yourself what is the very worst that could happen, and often, in the overall picture, even the worst-case-scenario doesn’t hold too much significance.
As for my afternoon yoga class, I really didn’t have anything to lose. And the worst that could happen was nowhere near terrible. So, I told myself that I would just stay in the moment and give all the effort that I could, and not judge myself for it. A few minutes later, I entered the doors of the studio, greeted by the warmth of the space and the enthusiasm of the teachers. “90% of the battle is simply showing up,” one of my teachers says, and it is true: the most difficult part of the practice is simply getting ourselves inside the hot room.
I’m so glad I did.