As I relaxed in corpse pose at the end of the class, I cried. It took some effort not to cry in big sobs, but I managed; rather, tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes like the sweat that had just been pouring off my forehead. I was relieved that if someone looked at me at that moment, they MIGHT just believe it was sweat. The reasons I cried? Too many to count. I cried for myself and others. I cried for my feelings and I cried because I am weak. I cried because I looked at my reflection in the back window of the studio while everyone was turned around so my safe spot in the back row was the front row for a few moments and I knew someone could potentially see me the same way I did. Not as someone who is taking the plunge and doing yoga, but as an ugly fat girl who has no right even trying with these beautiful strong people who of course never question themselves. Ever.
I sat in that feeling for a moment, and then I cried some more. Because I knew that those people did not show up to judge me. They showed up to do something positive for themselves. And then it hit me, and I cried harder – silently, fervently. Did anyone there judge me for not doing dancer’s pose? If they did, would it matter what they thought? Who in that studio knows that my knees are the biggest hurdle to my fitness? Who in that studio knew that my knees were already wobbly after the workout they had been through – but that I kept working them anyways, only declining once dancer’s pose came in the last few minutes of class? Who knew that it was only my third class?
Finally, who cares what they knew and what they didn’t? If they judged me with or without knowledge, that is on them. And somehow, I don’t really think anyone is there to judge. If I stood in the doorway of the studio and asked each and every person as they exited whether they saw my fat ass almost fall over, or whether they cared that I didn’t do dancer’s pose, or whether it was important to them that I was slower than everyone else getting into some of the poses – I bet they would look at me quizzically and respond with a resounding NO. I didn’t need to ask them, though, because what mattered most is that I was judging myself for them, and I needed to be giving myself credit for the effort I put out to accomplish another class, another workout, and another day on the road to fitness. I cried in yoga tonight, and I learned how to accept myself for what I accomplished, even if only for a few moments.