Friday, May. 22, 2015 @ 8:42 am
The Year of Yoga
Last year was the year of ballet. This year is the year of yoga.
I decided to give yoga a try in the new year. I signed up for 7 weeks of beginner yoga, and the first class was a trans-formative experience. I lucked out with a truly beginner class - it was nearly laughable at how slow and gentle the class was, and the teacher did not assume anything about our abilities. But it was an excellent foundation. She explained yoga history, defined yoga terminology, and ensured that we were all doing the simple poses safely and with good form. And the most surprising thing for me was that it was not so much about how much of a pretzel you could accomplish, but rather it was about deep breathing and finding an inner calm and awareness. After a hectic day at work, I walked away from yoga feeling as though I'd been on a week long retreat.
I went diligently every week. In the second to last class, the instructor came up to me to tell me that she thought that the intermediate class would be more appropriate for me. I was shocked, because I am not very bendy and at that point we'd never even done the infamous downward facing dog. But what she said was the best students are not naturally flexible but rather those who move through the poses with energy, thought, and mindfulness.
Into March, and I transferred into the intermediate stream. The poses became more intense, and I did my first flow sequence of sun salutation, which includes our friend the downward facing dog. I did my first inverted pose. All the while, learning how to better manage my day to day stress and feeling a greater inner calm than ever before.
Onto phase three - flow yoga. This month I left my regular teacher, my yogic nursery schoolmarm, and signed up for an all-abilities flow class. Three classes in and I'm growing proud of my accomplishments. My core is strengthening, and I'm finding that now that my core is stronger I actually enjoy using it. I like how I feel wrung out after class. Pushed further. But also, the ever present sense of calm.
Last night, the sun low in the sky, streaming in through the wall of windows of the community centre. The music - chanting and sitars - woven with the robin song outside. Moving into some sort of reverse or exultant warrior pose, one that opens up your heart, projects your energy into the sky. A yogic Care Bear Stare. And in that moment I found perfection, such beauty. Watching the ripple of sun and waving branches on the wall, listening to the recorded chanting, and feeling my energy grounded and full. So much fullness, so much peace.
So this is my year, my year of yoga. Of finding a new kind of fitness, of lengthening and leaning my body, of undoing the years of hard running. Of learning about mental fitness, of spiritual calm, of connectivity of body and mind.
Of the sunlight filtering through the trees, the robin song, and having enough inner calm to notice and appreciate all the grace and beauty in the world.