No. Not today.
This was the mantra that was running through my head as I drove to my Sunday yoga class. For the past few weeks, I have been letting irrational thoughts or emotions interrupt my practice (let alone my life): taking the words or attitudes of others more personally than I should, imagining negative scenarios that have not even happened, and on the flip side, forgetting my place, believing that words or actions mean more than they do and letting my daydreams get ahead of me. Regardless, nothing was going to interrupt me this morning: no emotions, no thoughts – I was heading to my practice prepared to focus and challenge myself to a task that I had never attempted before.
I wanted to go for a perfect game.
What is a perfect game in the yoga world? I am not even sure if it’s a coined term in the world of yoga, but there were four classes scheduled for that Sunday: three traditional hot yoga practices and a YIN class. My plan was to take all four of them. This was going to be the hardest challenge of my life; I have completed double classes before, but never a triple with a YIN on top. I have been wanting to deepen my practice for a while and gain strength in my postures, but completing this challenge meant more than that: I wanted to prove to my mind that I was in control.
Walking into my first class, I held my plan close, deciding not to reveal it just yet. I was afraid that saying it out loud would cause it to dissipate. Nevertheless, I entered the room and began my practice. Trying to pace myself throughout the class, I felt that I was sloppy and not as smooth as I had hoped. Leaving the room though, I felt okay and was ready to face the second class. I certainly felt the drain of the first class, as I was a little more wobbly on my feet during the standing series. However, after we hit the ground for the floor series, I thought I was getting my stride back. That is until I stood back up. Despite drinking water and refueling with fruit, my hands were jittery; I had experienced this feeling once before, and I did not take class that day.
It was then that I revealed my plan to Stephanie and Tommy (another instructor and the General Manager of HY4Y). Maybe I jinxed myself in that moment (as the first rule of a perfect game is not to talk about a perfect game), but Stephanie had mastered the art of the trio classes, and she could see that I was fading fast. She expressed the importance of knowing restraint, and how pushing forward may not yield the practice I had hoped for. Although my mind and spirit were still on board with my plan, my body giving in. Ultimately, I conceded to sit out of the third round of the traditional practice and save my energy for the YIN class. Although a slower and gentler practice, the YIN class is my biggest challenge, forcing me to remain trapped with my thoughts for longer periods of time. This YIN class, though, ran the smoothest it ever has for me, despite gecko posture feeling like an eternity.
Although I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t achieve my perfect game, I do have something to be proud of: I completed my first triple! And sometimes, knowing when to restrain yourself and protect yourself can be just as powerful as pushing yourself through a challenge.
Now, I have something to work towards, something to focus on, something to help push me further into my practice and help keep everything else out.
Similar to the events at my yoga class, these cookies proved to be a test for me. With Spring upon us, I wanted to make a lemon thumbprint cookie with raspberry-blackberry middle for my fam at the yoga studio.
The first batch, though? They were horrible. The dough had mixed for way too long, creating a cake-like cookie that grew staler by the minute. I accidentally added too much water to my jam, creating a runny consistency. I could not bring myself to bring this batch to my friends. I realize that mistakes are a part of the learning process, but I was disappointed. Within the next few days, I knew that I would have the opportunity to try again.
With a slight tweak to the recipe, I stepped up to my mixer with a new determination; I had to believe that I could do this. I am glad that I was forced to remake the recipe; it reinforced that I am not always going to succeed on the first shot, and that is okay. We always need to keep trying, to keep learning; failures and setbacks give us something to strive for. And similar to pulling off these cookies, in the terms of my yoga practice and my perfect game, I believe I can – so one day, I will.