(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

I bet most of us have a workout spot in our fitness classes. Where’s yours? Front, middle, or back?

If I can I always end up on the left side of the room—I think that’s because I am “left-legged” for whatever that’s worth. My yoga teacher thinks I should switch it up—after all, haven’t I been in physical therapy for one-sideness? Maybe, but I’m not changing that up so far in this new year.

However, for most classes I do prefer to be toward the front. After all, I like to see. Once I feel confident about what I’m doing, I don’t mind if other people can see me better—I just want to see the instructor. I’m both a kinesthetic learner and a visual learner. (And, perhaps my already weak auditory skills are getting weaker with my hearing diminishing a bit—got to be close to hear the instructor!)

Just about seven years ago I began taking yoga for both my body and my mind. I was recovering from a hysterectomy as well as having trouble getting out of my chair easily due to back problems. At the same time I struggled with both my son’s AD/HD and my own ADD.

A totally inflexible and distractible person, yoga did not come easily to me. At first I was happy to be in the middle or even the back, as long as I had good access to vision through the mirrors.

However, at some point I moved to the front row. I was losing weight, gaining flexibility, and working on becoming more mindful. First of all, being in the front row helped a lot with that mindfulness thing. Not only could I see the teacher well, but also I wasn’t so tempted to lose concentration because she could see me way too well also!

Yoga made me feel like a whole new person—rather like my old formerly fit self yet so much better, even as I was aging.

Back to that exercise position in class. There really are no assigned spots in these classes and sometimes people start to fight for position. It’s rather unyoga-like, but if you’ve been in a class, you know many of us do it. Well, as I began to need yoga desperately to deal with my mother’s Alzheimer’s and my daughter’s depression, I had to miss some classes for their appointments. You guessed it . . . people started claiming my spot.

I remember having a stress dream about a woman being really nasty about “my” spot—and in my dream this woman was one of the nicest people in my class! I laughed with her about that, but found that I was too emotionally fragile to deal with the additional stress in my life of jockeying for position. After all the struggles in life, I just wanted to walk into a class, drop my mat, and get down to being in the moment of yoga.

So I moved to the back row with my gentle friend. I don’t even like the back row—after all, I don’t worry if the instructor or other students can see me—I just worry if I can see them.

After three years in this spot, for the most part I still don’t feel ready to return to being a front row person in yoga, even though my old spot is strangely vacant. Truth is I just want to be left alone—I don’t want to be that person who has to answer the instructor’s questions constantly or who gets adjusted more than others. It’s not really about yoga—it’s about me.

I am not a front row person these days. Yet, I’m not going to be a back row person forever. During yesterday’s class I realized how frustrated I was because I could not see the instructor at all—not even in the mirrors. The more men we have in class, the more taller people there are in my sight line. In the end I had to choose which front row student to watch for direction.

Still, I don’t want to leave my friend’s company yet. We share tight hips, locked down shoulders, and the overwhelming sadness of losing our mothers to Alzheimer’s. But . . . she never wanted to be anywhere but in the back and I did.

For right now I’m just moving one pose at a time in my Bob-Uecker-style front row, but one day I’ll be back behind home plate again. Well, assuming someone else doesn’t want that spot . . .