When I started doing yoga ten years ago, I was appalled to find out that the teachers went around the room touching people. I was a self-proclaimed “touch-me-not.” I never understood why people would reach out and touch people without asking.
So, in those early yoga classes, I wished there was a little pebble system where you could put a red pebble on your mat that meant “Do not touch me.”
Yes… this is a true story, and I’m aware how ridiculous it sounds… but the pebble system is a creative idea, isn’t it?
But, because there was no such system, I tried to do every pose perfectly. I listened to the teacher with serious intent. I made every modification suggested in the hopes that the teacher just wouldn’t touch me.
But of course, those touchy yoga teachers touched me. And, little by little, I finally realized what they were doing:
- Showing me that I can advance a pose even when I thought I couldn’t
- Making adjustments to my poses that felt better
- Encouraging me to relax
- Helping me
And yet, here’s the thing: I don’t like to look like I need help, especially in public. I don’t want to admit I need help. It is really freaking hard for me to accept help…
But little by little, I have made adjustments in my life. I have written some terrifically tough stuff in writing classes and read it out loud with tears in my eyes. I have admitted to my friends that I have problems I need help with. Why? Because:
- The people I trust can help me adjust my thinking
- The people I trust can help me relax and laugh about it all
- The people I trust can show me how to advance my life even when I think I can’t
- The people I trust enjoy helping me because they love the imperfect me – the one who can’t do a handstand (yet!), the one that falls on her face in crow, the one who topples over in tree, the one who trembles in vashistasana, the one who’s like “Feel free to take a three legged chaturanga? Are you freaking kidding me?”
It’s impossible to be perfect in this life. It’s so freaking exhausting to try. It’s painful to pay attention to everything and everyone so closely because you are afraid to displease them or make a mistake.
It’s lonely being someone who isn’t willing to be touched.
Where are you unwilling to be helped? What do you try so hard at that it’s exhausting you? What do you refuse to be wrong about?
Maybe it’s time to ask for help. Maybe it’s time to surrender control. Maybe it’s time to touch other peoples’ lives and let them touch you. Alright, now, calm it down over there. You know what I mean.
Here’s what I’m really trying to say, beautiful readers: Maybe it’s time to go to a yoga class and put a big green stone on your mat.