In barre3 class tonight, I felt horrible. Usually, barre3 makes me feel strong and energized. But not tonight. Something was off, and I didn’t know what. I fought my way through the class and made it to the final resting pose, impatient to get on my way and be alone.
While we lay on our mats, the teacher said something like, “Now take a moment to thank your body for all it has done for you.”
And I started crying.
Yes, I do start my period later this week, so I am crying all the time right now.
And yes, yoga, pilates, barre, you name it–the teachers are always reminding us to thank our bodies.
But in this particular moment, I cried because I realized why the class had felt like more of a struggle than it usually did.
I had been talking shit to myself for the whole class.
Beating myself up for being in physical therapy for my knee. For not being strong enough to avoid a knee injury in the first place. For not being able to get into as deep a squat as the lady behind me because of my damn knee. Or for not having as graceful-looking a Warrior II pose as the lady next to me. It even got as petty as wishing I was as tan as one woman, or had cute leggings like another, or had legs like another.
I had been looking all over the room but not at myself. And I constantly found myself wanting. And so I was having a totally nasty conversation in my head for the whole class, telling myself what a loser I was. I even felt apologetic for taking up space in my little corner.
Everything feels harder when we talk this way to ourselves. Things are already hard! Do we have to make everything harder by being the meanest person in the room to ourselves?
If we want to do hard things, we have to be gentle with ourselves. Yes, we can push ourselves out of our comfort zones. But when it doesn’t go perfectly, we can be kind to ourselves.
When the teacher encouraged us to thank our bodies, the tears were instant because I immediately understood. Without needing any more prompting, I said to myself, “It’s okay, sweetie. You’re okay. You did good. You’re strong. You showed up for yourself for this hour. I’m so proud of you.”
And I let the tears flow quietly.
We can always begin again. When we catch ourselves sliding back into those unproductive or unhealthy thought patterns, we can stop, take a nice, slow, deep breath, and begin again.
I’m sorry I was so cruel. It’s okay. You did good. I’m so proud of you.