The accidental yogi
We’re often told things like ‘you’re exactly where you’re meant to be right now’ and ‘if it’s meant to be it will be’ or ‘the universe sent this to you’, not to mention my old favourite ‘everything happens for a reason’. Usually I scoff and tend to disagree (like seriously – do you really think the universe could be bothered sending me a 339€ electricity bill?) but in the past few weeks I’ve experienced situations at Hot Yoga Ibiza that have made me think, yeah, I am where I need to be. The universe did send that to me. What will be, will be. Everything is happening for a reason.
These situations, well, I like to call them ‘surprise classes’. You see, what’s been happening of late is that I turn up to practice expecting something quite specific and I am greeted with a different variation of a certain type of class. Let me explain…
A while back, when Sebastien was first introducing the Hot Yoga classes into the schedule, I’d turn up for a Bikram Yoga class and then feel a little confused (but secretly really happy) as he started the class with soft, gentle instructions rather than barking that same old dialogue. We’d only practice each position once, rather than twice (to the delight of my thighs during Triangle pose) and get to try some cool new asanas. It was back then I coined the ‘surprise class’ phrase, because you know, you’re expecting something then surprise! You get something different, but of equal value, so to speak.
Then, when Hot Yoga had become a staple in our studio’s schedule, I turned up for a class – and let me be honest, I hadn’t been to practice for a while so I was dreading the muscle strain, I was running late so I was really stressed, work was crazy busy and I was very worried about some things at home (ahem, 339€ bill anyone?). So when I got to the studio, I was surprised to find a circle of students sitting on the floor in the main room rather than getting changed for practice. Seb invited me to sit down and join the Pranayama (breathing) class. Surprise class!
Sure, an hour of breathing exercises wasn’t the full body sweat inducing experience I’d been expecting, but as I floated out of the studio after the session, I couldn’t help but feel the difference in my mindset. All of the day’s stress had just melted away and all I could think about was making some nice soup and drifting off to sleep. The universe sent me that breathing class right when I needed it.
The next few surprise classes I experienced were all due to my own miscalculations. I’d think I was turning up to a Bikram session, only to once again hear those gentle instructions and instantly realise I had entered a Hot Yoga class. Surprise! And each time it happened, was a time I had felt resistant to coming to class – whether it was tiredness, discomfort in my muscles or stress, the thought of an intense Bikram class hadn’t appealed to me. Surprise! I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Another surprise class came when I arrived on a Sunday morning for Bikram, only to find the studio FULL to the brim with students. I mean heaving. Body-to-body-to-body. There wasn’t enough room for all of our mats. The solution was easy, according to Sebastien – no mats! Simply spread out on the floor in three rows. I was certain I was going to HATE this class. I didn’t want to be so close to someone. I didn’t want to touch my neighbour by accident. I didn’t want to think about someone else’s sweat. It was going to be too damn hot. But you know what happened? It turned out to be one of the best classes I had ever experienced – there was something powerful about that shared energy. Surprise! Everything happens for a reason, and I got over my attachment to my personal space.
My most recent surprise class came on a Tuesday morning during an Ashtanga session. Having only recently tried (and enjoyed) this style of yoga, I was very much looking forward to attending again. There’s something about the flow of the class and the rhythm of the Ujjayi breathing that really helps with my (normally discombobulated) concentration. So when I discovered our teacher was not going to lead the class, but practice alongside us, Mysore style, I almost shrieked out loud. But I’m a beginner! I need guidance!
In the end I accepted what will be, will be and focused on doing my best to follow Sebastien and the other, more experienced students’ leads and trying to remember everything I could from the last class. As it turned out, I had one of the most rewarding and satisfying practices I had experienced in weeks. I may not have been able to wrap my arms behind my back and grab my feet, or do a backbend or a headstand, but I was able to keep up with the Vinyasas, keep focused on my breath and concentrate deeply at the end of class. When you think about it, of course my teacher would never have let me practice if I wasn’t ready. It was simply meant to be.
Now every time I go to the studio, I wonder what surprise might lay ahead. Because I know I am where I need to be. The universe has something in store for me. What will be, will be. Everything happens for a reason. I love surprises now!