I’ve loved to dance ever since I was a little girl. I’m not a good dancer but I enjoy the experience. I decided to try barre fitness at a studio not far from my regular yoga studio; I wanted to complement my yoga practice with a high intensity cardio workout. I had my first class today and felt very humbled.
My yoga practice didn’t help me in my barre cardio class. I discovered that I am still uncoordinated and that I lack cardiovascular strength and endurance. But this is precisely why I signed up for this kind of exercise: to improve both my cardiovascular health and my coordination.
I felt very frustrated through the whole experience, but I understood that it would take time to build and gain what I lack. I tried to have fun with it and to laugh through my mistakes and the things that were difficult, and I did my best not to complain or whine. I finished the class determined to commit to a barre practice the way I have to a yoga practice.
Shortly afterward, I went to my daily evening yoga class. I struggled through it and thought, ‘I’m tired of working so hard on myself all the time.’ I understand that this process is lifelong and that I can’t see it as a goal with an endpoint, but I spent class feeling fed up with the constant work. I felt as though I needed to give myself a break and to use the practice to relax rather than to beat myself up over what I’m still incapable of doing and is hard for me.
I do not plan to reduce my practice or my exercise in any way, but I will try to stop beating myself up when things are hard for me. The rehabilitation process is very inwardly focused and I can often get too stuck in my own head. I will spend the weekend meeting people at an editing conference and focusing on something other than rehabilitative work. I think it’s a much-needed break of sorts that comes at a good time and forces me to see beyond what I still consider my own failings and weaknesses.
I plan to continue with both barre work and yoga. I’m not discouraged, but this experience has forced me to consider that there are other things in my life that hold just as much importance as rehabilitative therapy (that I often don’t pay enough attention to). I am more than a disabled body and I am more than the work I do to make myself better. It takes humbling experiences to be reminded of that.