Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yoga and Me

I first met Yoga when my oldest daughter was about 2 years old. Yoga seemed to be the new “in” thing; the latest fad; what all the cool kids were doing. I was looking for something to get my ass into shape, and an excuse for some time away from my (beautiful) child. I decided to try it.
The studio I attended was in an odd part of town. Surrounded by a trucker’s motel, a church of a certain denomination I had never heard of, and a gas station. To say the least, the area didn’t provide that “Zen-like” environment I had envisioned a yoga studio would be placed in.
I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. Wondering if I would look a fool to everyone else in the class. When I walked into the studio, there was a buzz in the air. People chatting quietly, placing their mats, getting ready for class. Some appeared to be meditating. I chose a spot near the front (I’ve always been a keener), unrolled my mat, and sat cross legged like the woman next to me was doing.
Finally the lights dimmed, the music was playing, and our practice began. I found out later we were practicing Ashtanga yoga. There was not much instruction; I dove in and mostly copied whatever the people around me were doing. I began to sweat and realized how hard I was working, and how good it felt. I practiced breathing the way the instructor told me to - deep breath in through the nose; long, exaggerated exhalation. I looked around and realized no one was looking at me (I’m not that special) - they were too busy concentrating on their own practice.
The exercise started to wind down. I felt good, but was still wondering if Yoga was for me. The instructor encouraged us to lie down on our mats, that we would be practicing our last pose, Savasana (I just learned how to spell that). I laid down and felt a little uncomfortable. Was everyone else doing this? Am I just suppose to lay here? With the sounds of chanting in my ears (coming from the stereo), I began to relax and really enjoy just laying there. I hadn’t done that since my daughter was born, maybe even longer. I suddenly realized there was something wet running into my ears - I was crying. “Why am I crying?” I thought. The tears flowed out of me. An emotional release of things I had been carrying around with me for years. Pain, fear, happiness, loneliness …
I lay on my mat and wiped my tears and my heart felt like it did when I was a little girl. And that is when I fell in love with

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