This morning, I dragged my sleepy ass out of bed at 5:15am to get to a 6am yoga class. For the record, this almost never happens for me. I’m practically dating my snooze button these days, and I am a sucker for basking in the warmth and comfort of my covers for as long as I can without turning up late for work. Also, I am the exact opposite of a morning person. If you happen to catch me before 8am, well, I’m sorry in advance.
As I do before every class, I got to the studio a solid fifteen minutes prior to snag a VIP parking spot, claim my go-to space in the studio, and stretch it out. I enjoy my pre-class ritual almost as much as I enjoy class itself. Yes, I’m a total yoga nerd, I am already aware.
So, picture this: I’m laying on my mat blissed out in the juiciest shoulder stretch there ever was and totally getting into the zone when all of the sudden a woman’s voice breaks through my meditative state to ask, “Hey, can you scoot over? My friend is going to put her mat next to mine, too.”
“Umm, yeah!” I said as I glanced over at her mat, which was placed a good six inches away from my own. In most cases, I have no problem moving my mat to make space for another person. I don’t how to say this without sounding like a complete asshole, but I was pretty annoyed that she A. interrupted me mid-stretch and B. asked me to move my mat when there was more than enough space as it was. In a full class, it’s not uncommon to have mats practically on top of each other. (Remember, I’m n-o-t a morning person.)
So I scooted my mat a few inches to the left, practically touching my neighbor’s mat – who I came to class with – and resumed my juicy shoulder stretch.
And then said yogi who had just asked me to move my mat laid her phone down on the floor and started whispering to her friend; they continued chatting for the next several minutes. Oh, my raging ego. Uhhh helllllll no, I thought to myself as my blood started to boil – and not because it was pushing 95 degrees in the room. She has the nerve to interrupt me mid-stretch to ask me if I can move my mat over when there’s plenty of space, she has her phone in class (my biggest pet-peeve as a teacher and practitioner) and she’s going to sit here talking to her friend? Nope. Not today, lady.
So what do I do? Take a nice, deep, yogic breath and proceed to do absolutely nothing at all. #KeepMinnesotaPassiveAggressive (I’m working on it though, promise).
Throughout class, all I can think about is how this chick wronged me. How dare she? And why does she think it’s OK to bring her phone into the classroom? I threw so many sneaky side eyes, you guys, and trust me I am not proud of it. Even as I was silently harboring mean-spirited thoughts towards this woman I had never met, I knew it was wrong. I knew my ego had taken the driver’s seat and that these thoughts weren’t truly who I am, but I continued to let it happen because in that moment, it was easier to shift blame and let my ego inflate to the size of the sun than it was to practice compassion, patience, kindness, and understanding.
As much as I tried to focus on my breath, I kept coming back to our little run-in before class. By the time we were laying belly-up in savasana, I realized that I had spent the last 60 minutes wasting my energy on a silly, unimportant incident rather than enjoying my sacred “me time”. I managed to make something that had nothing to do with me, well, all about me. Damnit, Jenna. It wasn’t personal until I made it that way.
As I took in the last hour of the morning, I remembered an idea that has stuck with me since I first read it from one of Brene Brown’s books: we’re all trying to do the best we can. I am a die-hard believer in this statement when I can check my ego at the door. God, I hate being petty. But sometimes my ego gets the best of me, you know? I’m only human, after all.
And then, I started to soften. I physically felt a release of tension that had been building up in my body. First, I (silently) forgave myself for reacting rather than thinking it through and giving her the benefit of the doubt, and then I (also silently) forgave/apologized to the yogi who was actually innocent all along. Maybe she didn’t know that she shouldn’t have had her phone in class or that it’s respectful to sit in quiet before class. Maybe she did. It really doesn’t matter. Regardless, she was doing the best that she could.
Man, I hope that even when I’m not being the best version of myself that others do me a solid by being patient with me and acting out of compassion. I mean hello, the golden rule? Treat others how you’d like to be treated. Sometimes I forget that this applies not only to the actions we take and the words that we speak, but our thoughts as well. I was not giving off good vibes this morning, that’s for sure.
So, I re-learned two lessons today on my mat. For one, we’re all doing the best that we can at any given time. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Also, that wresting with my ego is a daily – more like a moment by moment – practice. If I can realize when I’m acting from a place of ego, hit the pause button, reflect and change course, then I can save myself from a whole lot of self-inflicted, unnecessary and unproductive thinking. Oh, what a morning. Thoughts? Have you guys found yourselves in similar situations, or is it entirely just me?
If you stuck around for the ending, thanks for reading. Heart you. I really, really mean it.