Yoga In The Front Row

by Amy Glass West | November 28, 2016 5:01 pm

It was one of those mornings. Phone calls and emails had to be answered but my mat and Kila’s yoga class at The Sanctuary Room kept calling me. I finally made the decision to push away from my desk and raced downstairs to the garage. I drove to the studio (following all posted speed limits of course), found a parking spot adjacent to my regular spot (brief pause as I wonder why my usual spot isn’t available), grab my mat and hastily run to the front door of the studio.

But, I realize my phone is still in my hand and I have this weird thing about taking it inside the studio. I run back to my car and just as I am about to put it in the seat I see the time. It is 9:25. Class starts at 9:30 and now I know why my parking spot is taken. I make it a routine to get to class at least 15 minutes prior to so I can claim MY spot. A small wave of panic sets in as I open the front door of the studio.

Kila is there to check me in with her warm smile and hello as she always is but I can’t focus on her today. All I can see and process is the large number of people already on their mats. Soft whispers among regular class goers echo off the wooden walls and fill the room with sound. And it is in that moment that I have to face the truth…MY spot on the back row just left of center has been taken! And to make it worse, the only spots still open are in the front row.

My fight or flight mode kicks in and I am searching my brain for a reason I can give Kila as to why I must bolt even though I have only been inside the studio for less than 30 seconds. I look at Kila and again at the front row and make the decision to face the dangers that lie ahead and stay. I tell her my dilemma and she quickly and LOUDLY tells the class “if anyone would like to make some money on their current real estate Amy would probably pay a nice price”.  Oh no. Now not only am I on the front row but I am visible to everyone in the class. And I thought it couldn’t get worse. I quickly unroll my mat on the front row, very left of center, right next to the hot tea maker and props, and pretend that my yoga world as I know it has not been shifted to an altered state while I try and calm my breathing.

It’s time to start class, but one more person walks in the door and I recognize the sheer look of panic on her face.  She is also a back rower. I know the look. I feel her. And she just realized the only spot left is by me, on the front row. For a brief moment I see her glance back at the front door but she too decides to throw caution to the wind and unrolls her mat beside me. She looks at me, says a nice hello, and then the words that I knew lived in her panic came tumbling out. “MY spot is usually on the back row and this is new for me”. I smiled at her and said “Girl, I got you! Mine too, and welcome to the danger zone!”

As class begins and Kila does her yogi magic, I focus on my breath, try to forget about the location of my real estate, and instead set my attention on my practice. It is different up here on the front row very left of center next to the hot tea maker and props. There is nobody in front of me or to the left of me to steal my attention. The windows are closer to me and unobstructed allowing the sunlight to warm my feet and lower legs. I can also see the trees and birds outside which is usually hidden by those in front of me. I am closer to the music and can feel the energy and flow of it more. When we face left in Warrior II or side angle, I feel like I am in my own space. I am relying on my own energy because I can’t see anyone else.

Kila calls for an inversion of our choice. This is the true test of my comfort zone departure. I like the back row because I need a wall for inversions! I have been doing head stands for years but always with the option of going to the wall behind me for guidance and support. There is no wall behind me. Do I even try or do I just do legs up the wall on my mat and call it a day? A little voice has been getting louder in my head as the class has progressed and it is now saying “oh for the love just do it!! You are on the front row! Own it all!”  So I did. And it was awesome.

The rest of the class kept bringing one word into my mind, perspective. I was forced to change my spot that day and it changed my entire perspective. As I went through the rest of my day I thought about it several times. Doing the comfortable thing obstructs me from seeing new things that can bring joy and light into my world. Staying comfortable keeps me from the growth that I know I want in not just my yoga practice but in my life. Looking to the left and seeing nobody but me to rely on was energy creating. Taking the upside down leap of faith in the middle of the room forced me to really think about the other “crutches” I use in my life.

It was truly one of the best yoga classes I have had in a while, and that is saying a lot with all the amazing teachers at The Sanctuary Room. But I can tell myself just as I told my back row buddy on the front row as we stared on an uncomfortable hour together…Girl, I got you! Now break out of your comfortable and see where it goes!

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