The Yoga Bug

I go to yoga class on Wednesday nights. It’s like a respite in the middle of the week, a little bit of time out of my chaotic everyday life. During the hour-long class I don’t think about anyone but myself. In fact, I try to do as little thinking as possible. I try to just be present in my body, and breathe, and stretch.

This past Wednesday, though, I faced a yoga dilemma about halfway through class in the form of a wood bug. At least, that’s what I would call it. According to Wikipedia, it’s called by many names including woodlouse, roly-poly, pill bug, potato bug and armadillo bug. But whatever name you give it, you’re probably well-acquainted with it. It looks like this:

Rollie Pollie
Photo credit: Joe Doe 2010 on Flickr

We were standing against the wall attempting hand stands (for real – my yoga class is hard core), and when I returned to my place and looked down I saw the wood bug ambling across my mat. Since it didn’t exactly inspire feelings of calm and one-ness with the universe, I flicked it lightly away with my fingernail, hoping that it would carry on its way in the opposite direction of my foot. Only what happened instead is that it ended up stuck on its back, about a foot in front of my mat, unable to right itself.

This is where my dilemma really began. As I watched the bug struggle, I started to feel sorry for it. I may eat meat, but I don’t like to see any creature suffering, not even a creepy crawly one. I gave it a couple of minutes, but it was no closer to righting itself and it was really distracting me. And then I thought that maybe I should have the kind of focus that wasn’t so easily distracted. Perhaps the bug was there to test my ability to keep my gaze inward rather than outward. But on the other hand, wasn’t allowing a bug to go on struggling a less than compassionate choice?

Pill Bug sunbathing
Photo credit: kenjonbro on Flickr

Eventually, I decided that whatever the correct answer was yoga-wise, I really needed to just resolve the situation so that I could concentrate. And so, when there was a pause between movements I attempted to turn the bug right side up. It failed to co-operate, rolling up in a tight little ball. There was no way that I could get its legs under it while it was in that position. Still, I rolled it a little, hoping to put it in a better position to get back on its feet.

Photo credit: John Sanchez on Flickr

Unfortunately, luck was not on my side. Or the wood bug’s side, either, for that matter. It unrolled right back into the same upside-down position. I tried to right it again, with similar results. Only this time I realized that I missed at least three poses in my bug-rescue efforts. I decided that I would leave it until the end of class, which was really only about 15 minutes away by this point. Maybe it would right itself in that time. And if not, it was surely not so long that the bug would perish. I needed to focus on my yoga.

I couldn’t do it. I kept seeing the bug out of the corner of my eye, twisting and waving its little legs in the hair, helpless to save itself. I tried to help it again. And again. I became quite frustrated with the way it thwarted all of my efforts to save it. I argued with myself about whether obsessing over this bug was the best use of my time or not, but I wasn’t able to just ignore it, no matter how hard I tried. Finally, I decided I needed to get over my squeamishness and I actually picked the bug up and turned it over quickly, instead of trying to nudge it gently with my fingernail this way and that.

It worked. The wood bug crawled off into the sunset. I was able to actually relax during my relaxation pose. All was well in the world.

What would you do, if you were on my mat? Would you allow a bug to take away from your class time, or would you let it save itself (or not)? And what do you do to find a little bit of peace in your week? Please tell me!

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  1. God Amber you make me giggle. I love how neurotic you are! It’s awesome and I mean that in that a good way. I would have done the exact same thing. I would have obsessed over helping it, forgotten my class, felt frustrated as you did. I do not like creepy crawlies at all but like you I am the first to yell “Omg there’s a spider omg omg omg… don’t kill it! Take it outside.” LMAO to which my husband looks at me and is like “Really?”

    Perhaps the bug was your instructor for the day. He was testing your patience, your calmness, your aptitude for making things right when in fact you were the one to put the poor little create on its back LOL. Mission accomplished so think of it… your class wasn’t wasted at all because Yoga is a reflection of the soul and yours my friend is kind hearted!

    Great post!
    Jodi @ Rants n’ Rascals’s last post … avoiding the job search scam to keep you safeMy Profile

  2. I could so totally relate to this story. I definitely would’ve been distracted by the bug enough to need to help it, just like you. I’m still in search of the best “me time” activity, but yoga is high on my list of things I love to do for me.

  3. Oh, I totally would have done the same thing, and yet all I can think of is this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Cordelia says “overidentify much?” 🙂
    allison’s last post … Water Water EverywhereMy Profile

  4. You are so funny! It would have bothered me to see the bug on its back too 🙂 Have a great weekend!
    Wendy Irene’s last post … A Simple DietMy Profile

  5. Your internal dialogue about this is hilarious, I’d totally do the same thing. Seems like the perfect bug to run into during a yoga class. Either that or a praying mantis.
    Amber’s last post … boys &amp piratesMy Profile

  6. I agree with what Jodi said about the bug being the instructor. Weekly yoga is wonderful. I was going on a weekly basis and stopped. I need to motivate myself to go again. It made a difference in a way that nothing else can.
    Audra’s last post … Sidewalk Chalk MakeoverMy Profile

  7. I couldn’t focus on anything else if a bug – however innocuous and in need of help – was near my floor mat.
    Francesca’s last post … Introducing My Profile

  8. LOL! I’m glad you saved the bug. You brought peace to the larger world.
    Lady M’s last post … Hats and BustlesMy Profile

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