Stay On Your Mat
I’d seen this chick tagged in various yoga posts, Vie Boheme, but we never crossed paths so I never gave it much thought until I walked into my first Tuesday teaching at YogaFit NE and saw her perfectly toned, perfectly brown, perfectly shaven head, perfectly perfect self walk out of the studio. Let me tell you - friend love at first sight. I didn’t even have that kind of instant infatuation with Fran. I took her class a week later, and fell deeper into love. Like you know the stage 5 clinger that wants to bring you to meet their parents two dates in? That’s me with Vie because I literally started telling everyone I knew about her class and sheer perfection. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t intentionally draw attention to herself, isn’t intimidated, and owns what she’s doing because she believes in it. *Revs engine* there’s nothing like a strong independent black woman to get my girl crush juices flowing.
A couple of weeks ago I was in a photoshoot for YogaFit after I had rushed from teaching my Sunday morning class at Corepower. I know, I’m a yoga hoe. I teach and take everywhere. I scurried into the studio sweaty, with a mammoth dreadlock in the back of my head because I had taught 5 classes in three days with zero brushing of my tresses. I don’t wonder why I’m single when I write stuff like that.
I guess I just stopped caring about impressing people with my hair cleanliness a long time ago. I burst into the studio with one thing in mind: do not, under any circumstance, practice next to Vie. She is the most ethereal human alive and your confidence will never recover. I moved to the front of the room and guess who came and plopped her mat next to mine? Yup. Fuck.
There’s tons of cheesy “fitness inspiration” phrases on Pinterest:
Run like Ryan Gosling is waiting for you at the finish line
You’re not going to get the butt you want by sitting on it
Be a bad ass with a good ass
Don’t stop until you’re proud
Okay, they’re not wrong but they’re not as motivating as my new workout mantra:
“Push yourself like you’re in a yoga promo shoot and Christina is following you around with a camera and you’re next to the yoga goddess that is Vie Boehem and you don’t want to look like a goon.”
I couldn’t walk straight for days after the class because I had pushed myself so hard. As I winced with every step I took for the following week, I found myself meditating on the lesson that I had learned from the experiences.
I realized that by Vie being herself and positioning her mat next to mine, I utilized muscles, strength and flexibility I always had, but rarely used. I recognized because of her humility, I wasn’t intimidated by her strength, beauty, and skill but inspired to dig deeper to find my own. I felt myself become more adventurous as she’d yell out “COME ON Y’ALL!” when she wasn’t even teaching, because she wanted everyone to give it all they had.
Then there was this moment - we were in boat pose, right? For all you non-yogi’s that means you sit on your buttcheeks, hinge your chest back, activate your lower belly, lift your feet off the ground and lift your hands. It was at the end of class, I was dead tired and she done did it - hinged back further, pushed out her feet and lifted her hands and I internally did a big gulp and said “Woah. I want to do that.” So I did, and the two of us sat in the front of class laughing as I tried to not fall over and her encouraging/inspiring me the whole damn time.
I’m so grateful for Vie, not just because she’s the queen of yoga inspiration, but she’s the all around life inspiration. In my 24 years on Earth I’ve met more girls that are mean, catty, jealous, and all around self-conscious than those that aren’t. “You can’t sit with us,” “don’t copy me,” “I’m better than you,” are the most common attitudes I see women giving one another and it needs to stop. It’s not good for us, and it makes the person on the life mat next to us feel concerned about themselves. That’s not Vie, and that’s not how I want to live my life either. Vie wasn’t concerned about being the best, people looking at her, or anything other than honoring where she’s at and encouraging others along the way.
Here’s my big takeaway from the day: Everyone is allowed in the room, and everyone needs to stay on their mat. We all have our yoga mats, right? In class and in life. It’s a little rectangle of fabric beneath us, and you always hear teachers talk about the importance of staying physically and mentally on your mat. Don’t let your mind wander, don’t let your body wander, or you’ll get hurt. Stay present, stay alert, do your best. Stay on your fricking mat. So when you get into your class of life and you start to compare, stop it. Comparison is not allowed, only inspiration. Comparison robs us and turns us into self-conscious bitches. Inspiration simultaneously grounds us and gives us wings to be the best version we can be.
When you get into the class of life and you notice people watching you, be the Vie in the room. Be the cheerleader, go getter, party starter that makes people feel good about themselves and realize that this room is for everyone. The big, the small, the weak, the strong, the able, the disabled, everyone is invited. They can see you and you are going to be the thing that inspires them to push harder than they thought. So show up to them room, because the others in the room need you to be you on your mat.
I wholeheartedly believe if us chicks can figure this out, and do it well, we will be an unstoppable force. We’ll make each other better, we’ll make each other stronger, we’ll change the world. That’s all.