I took my first yoga class in the basement of the University of Montreal athletics department back in 2008. As a newcomer to the city, I was struggling to make friends and joined the class in hopes of meeting new people. Looking through the list of classes offered, I opted for yoga as an excuse to buy a new outfit. Only then when seated cross-legged and eyeing the room for my next BFF, did I come to realize there wasn't any talking in yoga. Derp.
The instructor looked like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family and smelt like sweat and incense. I questioned why I had dropped $300 on my snazzy purple outfit. In fact, my head was so far up my own ass that after 20 minutes I thought I should be the one teaching the class as I looked more the part of a zenned out yogi than that hot sweaty mess of an instructor.
Nonetheless, I kept showing up.
For two months, Fester focused on dropping ego and judgement and shifting to inner fulfillment. Yeah, but how did that girl wrap her foot around her waist? And what's this about a Japanese ham sandwich? My inner monologue slowly started shifting focus from others to myself. Nine years later, he still appears whenever I look around the room in judgement and comparison.
Uncle Fester wasn't my guiding light when I applied for yoga teacher training, yet he continuously reappeared whenever the subject of gratitude arose. Was it his Newfie accent and wide legged linen yoga pants? Or his compassionate yet firm demeanour? Will I strive to be like him when I start teaching? I don't know, but what I do know that he shifted my perspective and for that I am grateful.
Where in your life have you had an Uncle Fester?