I Dodged a Hornet

On Day 24, a hornet found its way into the hot room. I noticed it about fifteen minutes into class, crawling along the glass of a far window and looking devious. But it was far enough away that I managed to convince myself we were living in different dimensions. I figured that the chances of a lethal sting to one of my major arteries was low. (I’m not even sure if that’s medically possible, but it’s always been one of my most bizarre nightmares.)

Just a few minutes later as I lay in the first shavasana of the class, I heard a buzz to my left, and I slowly turned my eyes towards the source of the noise. The hornet itself, enormous, red hanging stinger and all, was making a violent beeline (pun definitely intended) towards my face. I gave a little yelp and barrel rolled James Bond-style off my mat and onto the carpet, nearly flattening the kind woman to my right in the process. I rolled back onto my mat quickly and (I hoped) subtly, but when you yell and tumble in a quiet yoga studio, people tend to take notice. I assured our instructor, Victoria, and the class at large that I was indeed okay. But if that hornet thought I was relaxing long enough to give him another chance to strike, he was dead wrong.

While my bee-avoiding theatrics had done a lot to draw attention towards the damned creature, there was still an impressive number of people in the room who remained calm and absorbed in their practice. A few other students expressed their fears of bees (I assumed my fear didn’t really need to be expressed vocally at this point) and soon Victoria was simultaneously cueing our postures and chasing the hornet around, which I have to imagine was like an extreme version of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. But somehow she managed to not only stay on track with the yoga dialogue, but to also catch the hornet with her sweatshirt and release him back out into the wild. Or at least, the parking lot behind the studio.

The whole thing could’ve been a scene out of “The Three Stooges: Bikram Yoga Edition.” We laughed when anyone yelped or rolled, and we cheered when the enemy was finally captured and removed from our midst. As I sat in an anxious hornet-fearing ball, not even pretending to try and keep up with the postures, I looked around and realized that I had found something of a home in my little Bikram studio. That hot room and the people in it had gotten me through 24 wonderful, sweaty days. Despite the hornet, I  suddenly felt deliriously happy.

But after class I received some bad news. My beloved home studio would be closed on the 29th and 30th days of my challenge for carpet renovations. I was told I could either finish out my final two classes at a different studio a few towns over, or extend the challenge by 2 days and finish when the carpeting in my home studio was successfully installed.

I was heartbroken. There was no way I could extend my challenge, not after all the hard work I’d put in already. But the people in the other studio didn’t even know me! They hadn’t seen me dodge a hornet or fall out of triangle pose and hit the side wall. They wouldn’t know that my knees are inflexible from years of mogul skiing or that sometimes my neck hurts when I come up in back bends. The instructors in my home studio- my instructors, as I’ve started to referring to them in my head- have seen my journey. Sometimes they’ve even quoted my blog during class (which jumped right over “hot shower on a cold day” to take the #1 spot on my list of best feelings ever). Having to finish my challenge at a different studio felt like a terrible, lonely fate. Not to mention it completely threw off my plans for Day 30 celebrations.

(At the end of my 30th class, the instructor- it would probably be Laura, she usually teaches on Tuesdays- would announce my astounding success to the class. The proclamation would be met with impressed looks and guffaws from everyone in the room, perhaps a spontaneous round of applause. After shavasana we’d pose in the front lobby for a picture- instructors, friends I’ve made in class, maybe the city mayor, all crowded around me in a jubilant tableau that would have undoubtedly earned a record number of likes on Facebook. Laura would declare me an official yogini. The mayor would invite me out to lunch.)

It seemed like all my sweaty yoga dreams had been shattered.

I whined. I worried. I seriously contemplated crying, but decided against it when I realized that crying in yoga had to be about a million times worse than crying in baseball. (And there’s just no crying in baseball.) As I mindlessly skimmed through yoga blogs looking for any kind of inspiration, I came upon this quote:

“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.” -Donna Quesada

Holy crap.

I was resisting the situation. I was resisting the situation like a belligerent frat boy might resist campus police. I wasn’t just slipping into my own pool of negativity, I was bathing in it. But it wasn’t until I found the quote that I realized I had a choice.

Yes, it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to finish my challenge in my home studio, but all my negativity had made me lose sight of what this challenge is actually about. I didn’t commit myself to 30 days of Bikram for Facebook pictures or a round of applause. I did this for the sweat, the spirit, the strength. The adventure.

So, as the heroine of my very own yoga adventure, I’ve chosen to accept the current situation. Rejoice in it. Love it. Stop resisting that which I cannot control. One of my best friends is coming with me to my 30th practice at the foreign studio tomorrow, and even if the practice is miserable, we’re going to eat a lot of chocolate when it’s over. Life is grand.

I’ve also decided that a picture with the mayor is a rather small-minded aspiration for an accomplishment of this caliber, so I’ve invited the Pope for a photo op instead. My completion of this challenge will be a miracle I’m sure he’d want to celebrate. Expect to see those party pictures around this time next week.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marcia Imbrescia
    Jul 02, 2013 @ 02:23:17

    Congrats as you near the end of your 30 day challenge. And I’m proud of you for not crying – quite the lesson in adaptability and flexibility (forgive the double entendre). Anytime you want to give Vinyasa a try, come with me to ‘my’ instructor at OM Warrior in Boston.


  2. Annabelle Eliopoulos
    Jul 02, 2013 @ 02:56:46

    If you don’t end up publishing some writing in the future, the world is going to be missing some great stuff! I was loling at this. Love you and congrats dude, so proud of you!!


  3. Paula Drake (Nanny)
    Jul 02, 2013 @ 12:01:54

    Great job Hannah! So proud of you. I so enjoyed your blogs but sweaty yoga is not for me!!


  4. teenieyogini
    Jul 02, 2013 @ 21:30:47

    You’ll be ok!!! When I first started practicing, it was at probably the worlds smallest studio, there was no desk, lobby, bathroom, seating, you just walked right through the door and into the hot room which held 12 people when lined up mat to mat. It only had 1 teacher and was nearly two hours from my house! When my parents found out there was a studio walking distance from our house they forced me to leave my beloved home studio, my ONE teacher, and my comfort zone. Unlike you, I cried. I threw a colossal freaking fit, to be perfectly honest. They did not cave, and I tried the new studio. It ended up being a wonderful experience. I now practice in as many studios as possible, and take as many teachers’ classes as I can. The dialogue is always the same, but different eyes can help you view your practice in new and wonderful ways. Ending your challenge in a new environment sounds like a pretty profound segue to the future of your personal practice.

    … If course, if it sucks, you can always just call it a 31 day challenge and go out with a bang on your home studio’s spankin’ new floor!


    • Hannah
      Jul 02, 2013 @ 22:17:18

      Thank you so much for your support! That must’ve been tough leaving such an intimate setting, but you’re right, the new studio turned out to be an awesome adventure all on its own. Experiencing the dialogue from a new set of teachers was definitely refreshing and they suggested new adjustments that I actually really liked!


  5. Ryan Lavoie
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 01:26:13

    If you could make this blog a little longer that would be great.


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