I left off last time with talking about my first real encounter with yoga in the sixth grade and mentioned that it wasn’t until the ninth grade that I encountered yoga again. So, that is where I will pick up today.
Towards the end of the summer before my first year of high-school, we joined a gym and I was uncertain about trying out any of the classes but I wanted to try a few to see what kind of things might make my working out experience more enjoyable. My older sister, Rose, asked me if I wanted to go to yoga with her one day, saying she had gone to a class with our mom and had enjoyed it. I remember feeling like I did not want to go because I had this mental idea of yoga classes as this place where really flexible women went to showed off how bendy they were. I could not have been more wrong. Never the less, after agreeing to try it out, I found myself really overwhelmed once we started getting into the more complex sequences. I immediately loved the environment, with the lights off and the heat on and the relaxing atmosphere was soothing from the start. I felt even then just sitting there nervously waiting for the class to start that I was in a different type of meditative state than any I have ever felt before, yet I was very unsure of it all. I found that I didn’t know any of the pose names except downward facing dog and warriors one and two. I had to keep looking around and watching what everyone else was doing and I felt like I was the only one who could not balance. The class was a hot yoga class so I began to sweat lightly and I was tired and kind of sore and I began worrying so much about getting the pose “right” that I was not enjoying myself as much as I could have. By the end of the class, I was just ready to go home and fall asleep. I thought to myself, “I am never doing yoga again, this is not how I remember it from sixth grade. I am so exhausted right now.” It was wiping the mat off, running these thoughts through my head but it was when I left the room and was walking down the stairs, to the locker room, that I noticed how calm I felt internally and externally, and how loose I felt. All of my tension seemed to have melted away. I think my body knew then and there that I would go back and that I had fallen in love with the freeing and peaceful qualities of yoga. Of course, like anything that is new to our bodies and minds, we find it hard to adapt at first. Later, I grew to understand that yoga isn’t about getting the pose “right” but rather what feels right and what frees your mind, body and spirit the most. Having perfect balance isn’t necessarily in the sense of who can do a pose without toppling over, and trust me your balance in that sense will just naturally approve over time. Yeah, that can frustrating. I still have moments where I really want to enjoy a pose and feel like I can’t because I let my frustration at wiggling around and having to tap my foot against the ground every few seconds get in the way of the beauty of a pose. Yoga teaches us instead about a different, more important, kind of balance that has more to do with the balance between mind, body and spirit than with standing on one leg without wobbling about. I struggled to enjoy that first class fully in the moment because I, thought quiet and quiet, reflective, meditative person, was not use to the discipline and uncaged emptying of myself through different postures and breathing patterns in that way. Never the less, I did walk away feeling lighter and I fell asleep quickly that night without a string of thoughts racing through my mind. The rest of that week I was looking forward to going back and felt so much opener to all that came my way.
Next time I plan on talking about the wonderful gift I got later that year for Christmas.
Thank you for reading and sharing your questions, thoughts and other feedback with me in the comments below.
“ Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”