A Yogi Named Mellow


I went to my first evening back-to-work yoga class. I was feeling vulnerable. Tired after a long day of work. Guilty that I had whisked Potamus from daycare and got to only spend 1.5 hours with him in the evening before I left again for my class. But there I was, ten minute early, alternating between savasana and easy sitting pose, when Mellow came in.

There she was, sitting front row. And in the ten minutes before class she was engaging in all sorts of yogi acrobatics. Full splits with head to knee. Full ekapadarajkapotasana (king pigeon) pose. All with a half-smile on her face, and her long hair in one sweet french braid, wearing cheetah panties. Yeah, panties.

I mean, bikram yoga is pretty notorious for the minimal clothing, but I can mostly tell the difference between yoga bottoms, which look like bikini bottoms, and underwear. And she was wearing underwear. Her seductively intimidating warmup, with her six pack abs, and slightly glowing skin, made me feel like a giant slob. And while there are plenty of super-awesomely-in-fit practitioners that I see in every class, it was this attitude oozing from her that was both better-than-and-humbler-than, which made me want to gag.

And so I spent the entire session down on myself. My balance was off in the standing poses. I couldn’t cool myself down during the floor poses. And generally altered between feeling like crying and wanting to punch someone. Maybe it was a test, on pushing through when it’s distracting. Or a giant metaphor about how balancing work-life is the theme of the week when the balancing poses are so hard for me. Because, with hindsight, it wasn’t about her, it was about me. I got distracted. And jealous. And down on myself. I focused on things I couldn’t change, and forgot to breathe and be proud that I was there after a long day of work. She’s probably a very lovely person, but I was jealous and annoyed, rather than filled with awe, respect, and a silent congrats that she had gotten to such a limber state.

How do you deal with comparison/jealousy in your physical fitness endeavors?

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