Yoga Spider

Althea Hugging a Stingray

I love nature and being outdoors. I’m at home swimming in oceans and climbing mountains. It’s not strange to see me helping an earthworm off a sun-baked sidewalk into moist dirt, or holding and examining a lizard with my son.

Althea showing a sea cucumber to her son

But my love of nature has limits. Roaches are beyond my limit. Mosquitos are beyond my limit. Those strange, centipede/spider, hybrid, basement dwellers are beyond my limit. Stuff like that.

Let me preface the remainder of this blog with a note. I love spiders. Well, to be more accurate… I love the concept of spiders. I like that they build webs to catch bugs that are “beyond my limits” and then eat them. Spiders do the dirty work I don’t want or like to do. So I love them. I don’t particularly like them too close to me, though.

With that prologue out of the way, I will continue.

This past Thursday was a limit tester for me. I was teaching a gentle flowing Yoga – Qi Gong fusion class at a corporate office. The fitness center and wellness room is in the basement of the large five-story office building. As with most basements, we often get crawly friends visiting our Yoga class. The students and I are pretty used to it, and we simply shoo pesky friends away, sweep them out the door, or (in unfortunate and extreme cases) smash them with a shoe.

I’m usually pretty calm about bugs in the Yoga room. Cause I’m nature chick, right? I’m the queen of outdoor sunrise or sunset Yoga and meditation. I calmly share my Yoga mat with ants, beetles and grasshoppers. I welcome a butterfly or moth landing on my arm while I’m in seated meditation under the sun. Bring on the bugs!

So back to this past Thursday. I wanted to provide a prop for one of the students to assist her in a move. I quickly scanned the room and found a low block resting in a dark corner behind the stereo. I was still speaking in my Yoga voice (my Yoga voice is really soft and soothing and puts people to sleep) as I stooped to pick up the block. And there it was. A tarantula-like hairy spider. I can’t quite recall exactly what sound I made, but it was not in my Yoga voice. But the class didn’t seem to hear me, so I quickly went back to what I was saying, brought the students out of the pose and had them resting with their heads down as I contemplated what to do with Hairy Spider. Hairy Spider helped me with my decision as it began to crawl toward one of the students.

“Um,” I started. “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there is a rather large spider crawling toward us, so let’s rearrange the room,” I said in my Yoga voice.

I guess I said it too calmly because no one moved right away. But as the students followed my gaze, immediate rearranging took place. A minute later, we were back on our mats and moving through another series of poses when Hairy Spider starting crawling again.

“It’s on the move. It’s on the move.” That’s all I said in my Yoga voice. And just as calmly as I’d said it, one of the students lifted a nearby trashcan and covered Hairy Spider with it. Problem solved.

I won’t lie to you… I felt the hairs on my arms standing up as I taught. And I couldn’t seem to get back into the rhythm of my flow. I kept feeling like Hairy Spider was going to get out and crawl on my leg while I was resting in Svasana with my eyes closed. I felt like I was being tested. Like my zen limits were being challenged. Why was Hairy Spider affecting me in this way?

At the end of class, I knew I couldn’t leave Hairy Spider there. The next person to walk in that room would move the trash can, see Hairy and kill him. I couldn’t allow that. So I overcame my fears and removed the trashcan, allowing Hairy Spider to crawl free.

Althea Releasing Hairy Spider

Hairy Spider

Hairy Spider

I don’t know where Hairy Spider is now, and I’m okay with that.

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