Flipping the Birdie to Self-Loathing

There I was, halfway through a 90-minute hot yoga class, panting like a (downward) dog, cursing my (aunt) flow, while practicing my Vinyasa Flow, and sweating my (figurative) balls off.

For some odd reason, the teacher decided to worship birds today. We chirped and pecked our way through pigeons,  eagles and swans. We performed variations of all of these postures that I didn’t know existed. Forward, backward, reverse, inside out, sideways and eyes closed,

I’ve never hated birds more in my entire life.

And then came the crow.

“What good would a bird-lovin’ yogi be without finishing with a few crows?” the teacher chuckled.

“A smart one!” I thought.

We were introduced to a few methods for getting into the crow posture — from hands and feet, off a block, down onto forearms for a “baby crow.”Precious.

I made my way to my hands and knees, got up onto my tippy toes really high, and hopped my legs up onto my forearms. Sweat dripping into my eyes, I managed to bring my gaze upward and caught a glimpse of myself in the never-ending mirror ahead of me.

“Your ass looks huge.”

My elbow buckled, shoulder fell forward, head landing onto the trusty “crash pad blanket” strategically placed in front of my body, and I surrendered.

Every inch of me melted into the blanket as I allowed negative thoughts to flow into my mind as though my fat ass had been holding back the water and simply couldn’t take it any longer.

It consumed me.

All of me.

Nearly an hour into practice. Breath, strength, flexibility and balance connected my mind and body for the greater good for 1,200 seconds, yet one thought caused my body to abandon my mind entirely, left alone, helpless, and broken.

“Fix your eyes forward and try again.” I heard a voice in front of me chirp.

I had almost completely forgotten that anyone else existed outside of my twisted mind. The only thought that I had involving anyone else was when I wondered if the lady next to me thought my hips looked big as I pressed into Warrior II.

I decided to try again.

My mind already knew I couldn’t do it, but my body whispered: “Try anyway.”

I got into position as I felt the teacher’s eyes burning holes into my body.

“Keep your eyes fixed forward, keep your head up.” I heard her say.

Keep your head up.

Four words, though intended to be taken literally, swooped into my twisted mind and began attacking my negative thought army with full force.

I fixed my gaze forward, hopped my legs onto my elbow platform, and squeezed my feet together with all of their might.

I felt every inch within my body tighten, every chamber connect, every bone, muscle, every drop of blood begin working together to hold myself in this pose. I held it for a really long time. In fact, my body began to tire before my mind did – that never happens. My mind told me to keep going. I heard my “keep your head up” army begin chanting, “You can, you will. You can, you will. You can, you will.”

I could, and I did.

I came out of the posture and I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry and scream and shout and clap and hug someone. But instead, I found my downward dog and began walking my legs out.

“How did that feel?” yoga birdie squawked.

“Amazing!” the crow within me tweeted back.

“You looked completely solid. It was beautiful.”

I won.

For the first time, I won.


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