And then, there’s a new one that I’ve discovered…
Type A yoga.
Yes, Type A-ness (which does sound quite naughty when you say it out loud) has gone beyond the corporate world and into the yoga world, one that I had assumed was supposed to be Zen.
If you’ve never been in a Type A yoga class, you’re lucky. You haven’t had to deal with the women (yes, it’s mostly women) who push you out of the way as they race into the classroom to claim their favorite space to set up their yoga mat, move your mat into a less-desirable space while you’re in the restroom (I’ll never pee again before class), check their texts or answer their phones in between doing downward facing dogs, or roll their eyes at you while they’re doing their spinal twist one way and you happen to be twisting the other.
It’s not just the students, either. Sometimes, you get a Type A yoga teacher. There was the teacher who spent the first 15 minutes of class alternately scolding and lecturing us on the proper way to fold and store our blankets and yoga mats perfectly on the shelves after class. And the teacher who was so frustrated with a friend of mine that she actually yanked her by the hair to force her into a yoga posture.
I initially came to yoga to get rid of my Type A-ness. I thought that by doing some special breathing and forcing my body in yoga postures, known as asanas, I would feel more relaxed and could de-stress. Instead, I found that it had the opposite effect. Surrounded by other Type A-nessers, I discovered a strange kind of competitive kinship, one that fueled me in the business world, but not so much on the yoga mat. Eyeing the other women who so easily folded themselves in half or wrapped their arms and legs in positions that I thought only existed in the Kama Sutra, I felt a surge of competitiveness to do the same. So I held my breath and crammed my body into postures that my body really could not, nor should not have been doing. The only one who ultimately benefitted from my competitive yoga practice was my chiropractor Ray, whose office I limped into regularly.
Then one day, something happened. As I was binding my thighs tightly together with a yoga strap and hobbling into a downward dog, the teacher instructed us to jump forward. My brain had no idea how this was physically possible and apparently, neither did my body. I willed my body to jump, and instead, I toppled forward onto my face. But instead of feeling embarrassed or determined to do it again, I started laughing. And ever since that day, something shifted. I rediscovered my sense of humor. Which surprisingly turned out to be the key to my finding that spiritual, de-stressing, uplifting yoga experience that I’d craved all along. Continue reading >>