If You Give Me Enough Rope …

Some things never change, even when we are in the midst of what we think are significant transformations. As outgoing as I appear to be, I am actually pretty shy. I mention this only because it took me nearly two years to build up the courage to walk through the doors at RussaYog® Yoga. I drove by repeatedly (I assure you I wasn’t stalking them, I was on my way to the grocery, or some other errand). I even called a couple of times in an attempt to learn more about their classes. Check out this video:

Part of my hesitation had to do with worrying about stressing my arms and causing lymphedema. Part of my hesitation had to do with feeling awkward trying to learn something new in front of a room full of people who already knew the ropes (literally)! And another part was simply because I’ve started so many things over the years that I’ve either lost interest in, or flaked out on, I didn’t want to set myself or anyone else up for disappointment.

I have been intrigued by this form of yoga since I first heard about it. Over the years
I’ve taken my share of Hatha yoga classes. I’ve also dabbled in Pilates and Gyrotonics.
I loved them all, but in order to get the type of workout I felt is necessary was way beyond my allotment of time and money. What drew me to RussaYog® Yoga were the ropes. I knew that the breathing and stretching would assist me in calming myself and testing my limits. And I believed that the ropes would provide me with the safety net I seem to need in order to try something just this side of my comfort zone.

Finally, in May of this year, for whatever reason, I finally built up enough gumption to go
through the doors and take a class. As is often true when I’ve taken this long to make a decision, I could have kicked myself in the butt for waiting. Actually, after just a few classes, I really could kick myself in the butt, although I doubt seriously any of my teachers would say this is something to strive for.

One of the things I love about the philosophy of yoga is its quest for self-improvement
without judgment or competition. Sure, I’ve been in classes over the years where I felt this fundamental credo was lacking. Probably anyone who has taken a yoga class has encountered the perfect bodies in the designer spandex. I guess part of the being non-judgmental means I shouldn’t have negative thoughts about people who come to class wearing the contents of their jewelry box while wrapped in a skintight outfit that is smaller than my thigh. I suppose the person I’m really judging is myself, but in the past I often found it difficult not to care. I am grateful that in this current pursuit, my mind is not occupied with anything other than attempting to explore my physical and mental abilities. I will admit, when the teacher says to close our eyes and envision ourselves doing the postures prior to actually attempting them, I am always looking quite spiffy in my size minus 0 getup. Heck, I figure if I’m going to visualize something, I might as well put a smile on my face in the process.

In the six months since I began this quest, I’ve noticed remarkable changes both mentally
and physically. When I start to obsess about breast cancer at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., I am able to pull my thoughts back to my breathing so I can fall back to sleep. And who would ever have thought I could stand on one foot with my eyes closed while my other foot is poised high in the air without falling flat on my face? I ask you … who? Of course, I’m not sure where I will be able to display this rare talent, but I possess it nonetheless!

Granted, I am still pretty shy about allowing others to see me in a vulnerable position, but
I’m even learning to embrace that. And if you’ve ever tried to embrace a vulnerable position, you know you have to be limber!

I’m learning once again to trust my body and to listen to it. Yes, there are times when I’m
scared or hesitant, but I will tell you this, for one hour, three or four times a week, I face fear and work through it and discover once again just how strong I am. I don’t think about breast cancer and I don’t worry about the future. I simply allow the ropes to guide and support me. And when I’m in an especially challenging pose, I usually find myself thinking about what I’m going to eat when the class is over. Remember, no judgment, because when all else fails, I’ve discovered that spandex really is my BFF!

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5 Responses to If You Give Me Enough Rope …

  1. Lee says:

    It looks fun to kind-of “swing” on the ropes! I’ve never heard of this, thanks for sharing, Dianne!

  2. Teresa says:

    Dianne, It is always a pleasure to see your smiling face in class (and even your focused, concentrated face is inspiring)! Kudos to you on your openness, courage, and wonderful sense of humor as you climb across the branches of life.
    ~chardi kala (unbounded optimism!)

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