I went to my first yoga class on Saturday and went back again on Sunday.
Wait. What?! My first yoga class?
Ok. To be 100% correct, I took my first yoga class in January 2006. Gawd that was a loooong time ago. I fell in love with the practice and continued to go, at times taking short breaks but always returning to the mat.
In August 2014, I was just starting to recommit when I discovered I was pregnant. I intended to continue going – the studio I was practicing at had a wonderful pre-natal class. But my sweet boy had other plans and really caused a stir those first 16 weeks. Once that pleasure cruise was over, my mind was elsewhere and anyway, I was in bed every night by 7:30. I figured, when he was born, I’d get back to it. Yoga is always there, waiting.
Getting back to any kind of familiar routine was not to be, however. Transitioning from a family of three, where the only child is a big girl now, to a family of four where the re-set button has been hit, is no small undertaking. Especially when the new baby is so different from the first baby! Additionally, I had a lot less time at home with our little man. I had stayed home from work for an amazing 18 months with our daughter, but had to go back just after our son’s 5th month. That was hard. Really hard.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve lost a tremendous amount of sleep. I’ve lost a lot of my self-confidence. I’ve lost some mental acuity. (I may have even lost my mind a time or few — just sayin’ — because sleep deprivation will do that) I’ve had to reorganize my brain.
I knew I needed to get back into some kind of exercise practice, whether it was daily walking (do you have any comprehension of the endorphin release that occurs when you take a 1-hour fast-paced walk? Try it. You won’t regret it!!) or a guided yoga class, or both.
With what time?
With what energy?
To say nothing of the sad fact that my body is SO out of shape. I am Bendi Pretzle no more. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
On Christmas morning, the beautiful outdoors was calling my name loud and clear. I bundled Monkey up, strapped him in his stroller, tied up my sneaks, and off we went. My thighs hurt, my butt hurt, my shoulders hurt, but I could feel the months of stress, tension, sadness, anger, and frustration dissolving. I could feel my chakras opening up every so slightly. Love filled my heart and good ideas filled my brain. I breathed the air in deeply and felt like I could walk forever. My decision was made. Tomorrow, I was going to yoga.
There is this new-ish studio nearby. It’s in a cool-looking building that you probably would not notice driving past. The windows are tinted. The moment I walked in, I knew this was the studio I would land in. The people were nice. The owner/teacher was nice. She was open and warm. She looked in my eyes when she spoke to me. Her smile was real. She gave me space.
The class was phenomenal. I listened. I observed. I was open to what was being offered. I accepted that my body was closed up, my muscles very tight, my back in more pain than I could ever recall, and my soul very sad. I was going to do whatever the teacher said. Towards the end of class, she came around and did “neck traction.” Basically she pulls your neck up out of your shoulders as far as it will go. Whoa. My neck was extremely compressed because I felt it lengthen and it even cracked and popped. For the rest of the day, I was a different person inside. Open. Clean. Aware.
I went back the next day. This time, the teacher was different but I was open to what she was offering and I loved the class just as much. Once again, I came away feeling open, clean, aware, and alive.
I say this weekend was my first class because essentially, it was. When is the last time I went to a class with the intention to just be there, and do what I could do, and be open to all that was there for me? When is the last time I allowed myself time, space, patience, quiet? These are things I need for myself. I do not need to talk about myself there. I do not need to discuss my past experiences with yoga. I do not need anyone to know me. I do not need to be anyone but who I am in the present: a mom with two kids, trying to survive the everyday-ness of this life in a very real, very honest way.
I want to hold on to this feeling and remember it every time I think about staying home instead of finding my place to land. That’s what yoga is now. It’s my landing place.