I’ve been taking yoga on a weekly basis again — yes, yes, old habits die hard and new habits often get aborted before they’re even born — but I’ve managed to keep it up for several months now. Unlike last time, when I managed to keep it up for two whole weeks. This newfound dedication is called My Chiropractor Co-pay is How Much?
This particular yoga class at this particular studio with this particular teacher has been good all around, and I often find myself leaving classes not only with some lower back pain relief but with a much more even temperament for the evening. I might even go so far as to use the word “relaxed” to describe the way I feel afterwards. Despite my best efforts to remain a hardened little cynic within my shell of pessimistic sarcasm, a little positivity sneaks in anyway.
But not tonight.
Tonight I arrived a little bit late to class, and the class was full. I got stuck with a tiny space in the corner, where I couldn’t stretch out without bumping into a wall. Stupid wall.
Then I realized the person next to me was one of those super-stretchy petite Asian girls who can neatly fold themselves in half in any direction, while I look like a flustered T-rex flailing my arms by my ears in an attempt to reach my distant knees. Stupid stretchy Asian girl.
On top of that the guy across from me was terribly tone-deaf, oblivious to his tone-deafness, and totally enthused about the mantras our class was chanting. Stupid tone-deaf mantra enthusiast.
From that point it was a steady spiral of negative thoughts until I reached my couch with a glass of cabernet, where the only thing I stretched was my sweatpants. And as I relaxed — tonight thanks to the wine, not the yoga — I considered that my crankiness had been way overwrought. I was acting like that kid who gets a little splinter and screams like he’s being stabbed to death with a wooden stake.
But yeah, there are days where life’s tiniest possible annoyances — life’s splinters — get the best of me. The lady in front of me in line who takes two seconds longer than I’ve judged necessary to pull out her wallet. The toddler on the subway who wants to play peek-a-boo with me when oh my god this hangover I can’t even see with my eyes. The couple who walks too slowly in front of me on the street (when here I’ve been that couple too many times to count). All just minor irritations, but then I start to dwell on them. And once I’ve started to dwell on them, it’s like a splinter that lodges itself too deep to extract and starts an infection.
Sometimes our bad days are just things we bring on ourselves with our own myopia. I’d like to think that yoga classes help me to develop a more intentional presence of mind so that I can identify the downward spirals before I reach the bottom of them. But on those days like today where I don’t, it doesn’t hurt to try and find a more positive spirit by reaching for a bottle of spirits.