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I brought an attitude to the mat that day, so it was my fault that I was displeased with the yakity-yak of this yoga teacher.

But I needed less talky-talky and more movement, people. Just shut up and give me some asana to get my ass in motion. My ass had been glued to a chair all freaking week. It didn’t want to be glued to my mat, too.

Yoga teachers like to say things like “this is your practice! Honor where you are right now! Maybe today you need more child’s pose and less down-dog. That’s OK!” But I’ve never heard one say: “This is your practice, so you should honor that and just start moving if you feel like I’m talking and talking and carrying on about honoring where you are right now and something related to the seasons and maybe something insightful I read in a Deepak Chopra book.”

Look, I get it — you’re trying to start us off in a good frame of mind. Thank you. But it’s not you, it’s me.

When you go to a class, it’s not just your practice. You’re making a choice that day to share your practice with other people and have a teacher guide it. Perhaps sharing wasn’t your intention. Perhaps that class just fit the bill that day. Sometimes I show up at a class just to make sure I get a practice in, because I know if I don’t, I’ll stay at work late, or get home and crack a beer and get dinner rolling instead of unrolling my mat.

Other days, I just need to stretch. My body is just tight from going for a long bike ride and then sitting at my desk. It needs a release. There’s nothing philosophical or mystical stirring in my soul. I don’t want to share. I don’t even necessarily want to learn anything about myself. Just give me my yoga.

That’s right, some days, I’m a selfish and spiritually bereft gal who shows up with a shut-up-and-give-this-ass-some-asana attitude.

But I trick myself when I show up to a class grumbling this way. I say I don’t want to learn anything, but if I make it to the mat, I learn anyway. In the middle of the class — once I’m moving — I remember how much I love going to classes, how much I feed off the energy of a room full of people giving it all they’ve got that day (kickassasana!).

That’s why those teachers are right when they say: “Thank yourself for showing up here today.”

And thank you, Deepak-reading teacher who puts up with grumblers like me.

–Jenn Fields

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