Speak up … don’t give up
I have a mental illness known as major depression and have long been aware that exercise is touted as an effective antidote, but I was never able to stick at anything, until I found yoga. I do not know why yoga appeals so much. Perhaps it is because I can be in my own space in a room full of people and I have so many things on which to concentrate that I have no time for depressing thoughts.
Yoga doesn’t stop me having bad days. I’m a transition to intermediate student and recently attended an intermediate class. I’d been to intermediate classes before, but on this day, I wasn’t feeling great, and it seemed every other student was achieving the poses while I shuffled around in an ungainly fashion and struggled to keep up.
I’d hurt my neck a couple of days before, so instead of an inversion, Belinda Q placed me in a prone pose. During that pose, I closed my eyes and desperately tried to stop the tears. In my heart, I know yoga is not a competition, but on that day, my depressed brain was telling me that I was old, fat, useless, and did not belong in a room full of intermediate students.
At my next visit, I told Belinda Q how I had felt during the class, stressing that it was my perceptions and not anything that anyone else had done. Belinda was incredibly kind and understanding and gave me some sage advice. She said there was nothing wrong with coming to an intermediate class, but it might be wise if I attended only when I was on top of my game.
A couple of days later, Belinda said she was pleased that I had spoken to her. She said she is a young teacher who cannot always read moods in the way a more experienced teacher (such as Chris) might. Her humility and willingness to learn meant I felt comfortable sharing about how I’d broken down in a previous class and the teacher (who was also my best friend) discreetly assisted me to withdraw from the room.
What’s the point of all this? We all have bad days, weeks, months, and years. It might not be a defined mental illness. It could be grief, stress, health issues, divorce, work problems, or the multitude of challenges people face every day. Whatever is happening, I firmly believe your Flametree yoga teacher wants you to continue with your practice and will support you to the best of their ability. So, speak up if you can, but don’t give up on yoga.
Other Student Testimonials
How yoga taught me patience
I had always been the type of person going from one activity to the next. I thought that a good run, or game of sport meant that I had worked out. And really, what did it matter if I couldn’t touch my toes? Or, even after trying to stretch, my hamstrings were still really tight? But seriously, no matter how damn hard I tried I couldn’t bend forward without feeling my concrete hamstrings and that was that.