The Value of a Bad Workout

I know, I know, I’ve written a lot lately about yoga. I promise this week’s official, regularly-scheduled post, to come in a few days, will not mention it one bit.


But for now, a little post that I felt compelled to write after tonight’s hot yoga class.


I don’t go in much for over-dramatizing discomfort during exercise. Running, for example: a run into a steady headwind builds character. A run where you discreetly take advantage of accommodating shrubbery is an adventure. A run where you have to wait for a bloody nose to clot is a little annoying, but easily brushed off. Same goes for face-planting on a trail.


It takes a lot for me to say “That run was bad.”


Tonight’s yoga class was bad.  Maybe I set myself up for it — I went on a long run yesterday morning, I didn’t sleep well last night, and today was a long, aggravating day at work. I thought about not going and just taking an all-out rest day from exercise. But then I told myself, “Yoga was made for days like these! All that centering and breathing and sweating will totally get my head right.”


Ha. Ha. Ha.


I was doing okay…until I wasn’t. We were in the middle of a series of standing positions when I had to sit down. And stay there.  I tried to stand and coax myself into following along with the class several times, but always, after a couple [hopeful! optimistic!] moments…back down.


I know yoga is all about finding peace with yourself. Baloney. I felt like crap. I felt like a wuss compared to the rest of the class, and I caught myself quietly snuffling a couple times (I assumed the “peaceful warrior pose,” a.k.a “trying to hide in plain sight” for a good while), which made me feel even worse. By the time the end of class rolled around and the instructor was talking about positive affirmations, which I usually eat right up, I was telling myself “Almost…done.”


After doing a semi-controlled stagger out of the studio, I found my friends Courtney and Emily, who had also been in class, sitting on the ground against the wall. I crumpled down beside them in tears. Whether they stemmed from unhappiness or relief, I have no idea. It turns out that none of us had had much fun. We all just sat for a little while, drinking water, griping and joking and trying to find positives as we recovered in the (thank God) cooler evening air.  It’s been a long time since I’ve just sat against a wall with friends, doing nothing in particular, but making each other feel better. It was nice.  Maybe that was the lesson to be learned here.


One thought on “The Value of a Bad Workout

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