I remember very clearly one of my first classes with the woman who would become my primary yoga teacher. It was definitely not the first class I ever took with her (THAT is a story for another day), but it was early on and it was the first class where I had this thought: maybe this is my teacher? And this is the story of why I thought that.
It was one of those “advanced practice“ hot level 14 or something at the old BFree Yoga. Now, at the time I was in pretty damn good yoga shape. (I mean I’m arguably in better shape now as far as cardio stamina and strength goes, but at the time I’d been practicing yoga for 12ish years, so I Absolutely Knew What I Was Doing(tm). )
At this point in my practice I exclusively did Vinyasa flow, but I did not do any cross-training. I hadn’t found Krav yet, Lulu was tiny so we weren’t biking or skating or anything like that.
Still, I fancy meself an advanced practitioner so off I go to level 57 hot flow. Quite cheery and wearing far too much fabric.
About 10 minutes into level 78 heat vision yoga it becomes wildly apparent that I am not, in fact, an advanced yoga practitioner. I’m used to doing some hard poses and weird shapes, sure. but Power Vinyasa Style where you just sort of *do them* and then it’s over really fast and then you’re doing the next weird hard thing. THIS WAS NOT THAT. This was the hardest yoga class I had ever done up to this point (of course now, after multiple 5+ hour backbend classes with this same teacher, was this class even hard? But I digress.)
So there I am in level 93 death by radiant heat yoga, laying on my mat dripping sweat trying not to cry, throw-up, or leave in a dramatic huff and I’m feeling pretty defeated and like Oh. My. god. I don’t have any idea what I’m doing!?!? and What am I doing with my life!?! It’s near the end of class but not cool down time yet, and apparently I was not the only one laying on my mat having an existential crisis because my future teacher starts talking. I don’t remember the first part of what she said exactly but it was something like: maybe you are feeling really defeated and you’re wondering what you have been doing with your life.
(omg can she read minds?) and if that’s you, it’s okay: I want you to look back at how far you’ve come.
Look at how far you’ve come.
When you are in the middle of the shit and you can’t see your way forward, look back at how far you’ve come.
And that’s the story of how the hardest yoga class ever led me to my teacher and gave me a mantra for when I can’t see the way forward.