The night before, I went to sleep at ten, feeling very excited and thinking: Tomorrow is going to be the first day of my new life (I know I can get very dramatic over things). When finally the alarm buzzed (5.40), I jumped out of bed like a kid ready to go on an adventurous school trip.
I had a glass of water, did the Neti Pot, brushed my teeth and left my house. It was still dark and a bit cold. I thought: look at me! Outside before six! I took my bike (it is about a five minute ride to the studio) and was amazed by a bright moon, early birds singing and a man jogging. I definitely was not the only person outside at this hour, I even had to stop at a traffic light because cars were racing..
I entered the studio, took my coat and shoes of and was welcomed by the studio manager. She told me where to go. She could not accompany me into the shala since people inside had already started their practice. I thanked her and quietly opened the door of the shala. I saw the teacher (a woman from Spain), sat in padmasana with her eyes closed. Next to her were candles burning. I could hear the sound of the ujjayi breathings of the ten people already doing their practice. I felt insecure about which spot to take. Maybe this was already someone else's spot? I rolled out my mat between two women, the one left of me was doing Surya namaskar A and the woman on my right was doing an asana that was clearly a real advanced one. I tried not to stare at her. First I took some big breaths in Samasthiti to make sure I somehow landed on my mat and then I started my practice.
Soon I got to the point where I realized: it is always you on the mat. The way you are in life, that is how you are on your mat. In my case that means: when I am in a new environment, with new people, I feel insecure and not at ease. I worry about what people will think of me. I want to show what I know, what I can, that I am funny. I want them to like me. And in this situation: I want them to see that I already know some Ashtanga. My stomach was telling me how nervous I was, how much I worried. I had to tell myself to focus on my breathing, on my practice. And luckily I also remembered that everybody in the shala was here for themselves, and not to judge me or my practice.
After some time, the teacher said: Samasthiti, and she started the opening prayer. We all chanted together and I felt like crying. The atmosphere was so peaceful and beautiful and I felt like: I am where I belong.
I took this picture on the island of Ameland, the Netherlands