To start, I haven’t been to a yoga class in just under 4 years. I started going during Monkey's first deployment when I found myself restless, stressed, and missing him very very much. I hadn’t slept well for two weeks. There was a yoga studio next to my dance studio and I decided to take a drop-in class one evening. Slept. Like. A. Rock. I don’t know if it was the physical exhaustion from sweating out half your body weight in a 100 degree room, or if I was actually able to find center and clear my mind long enough to fall asleep. But it was miraculous.
I kept it up until I either ran out of time, or money. I can’t recall which. Either way, I eventually fell out of it. I don’t even remember if I missed it. But I did remember how good it made me feel. Yet, I’ve been afraid to go back. I’m not sure where that’s coming from. I thought, perhaps I feared I would be “bad” at it after all this time. But I’m the kind of person who’s up for anything. I learned a long time ago to stop caring how I perceived myself in learning a new skill. Everyone starts in the same place. I don’t even care if people judge me for “sucking” anymore. Whatev’s. This is my journey and I’m here for me.
I have yet to answer this question for myself. But last night, I went back to yoga. My schedule got all mish-mashed having to work late Tuesday night; so I decided to do an extra day at ME Fitness in NE Portland. After a quick TRX blast class, and 30 minutes on the ‘gluteal’ setting on the elliptical, I mustered up a pretend confidence and dropped in on the last yoga class of the night.
I giggle a little on the inside at hearing the CD of chimes and “Ommm’s” in the background. The perfectly 78 degree room warmed me from the inside out. I was excited for a good stretch after a hard 3 days of gym/dance/muay thai. I placed my rental mat on the empty floor and stashed my things in a cubby. I return to my mat to find that I have placed it in the wrong direction now that other students were arriving and eyeballing my miss-placed set up.
I lowered myself onto my newly correctly orientated mat, and started slowly stretching out in a very non-yogi style. Class begins and I’m delighted and disappointing at the same time. It was harder than I remember.
I’m never one to turn down a physical challenge, so I welcomed the extra workout after my previous hour. But, I was hoping for more of a pure stretch out. I understand there are many different types of yoga. I guess this one isn’t the stretchy kind. I enjoyed it regardless. I learned some new ways to pretzelfy myself in some position named after a bird. We performed lots and lots of downward dog, achieving an always needed entire-back-of-the-leg stretch. I found myself wishing I hadn’t just ellipsed for 30 minutes prior. My shaking legs made me feel weak and disappointed in my performance. I decided I didn’t care. As long as I was pushing myself as hard as I could, I would be getting something out of it.
Next we moved to inverted positions. Well, I attempted to move to an inverted position. I can do a headstand all day long in a tripod position. Not so much in the elbows-on-the-floor-hands-behind-head position. I tried my hardest not to look like a duck chasing fish under the water with my tail feathers flitting around in the air. Also, I forgot about the T4 syndrome I’m recovering from. Owie. Guess I won’t be trying that again any time soon. Disappointing but probably a good idea.
Lastly, we returned to the floor to slow down, find center, and practice a few of our own “Oooommm’s”. At first I felt goofy, always starting a second after the others, but a smile crossed my face as I relished in the harmonies we were making. The lower voices of the lone male yogi, and the varied soft female voices created a harmonious chord which truly brought me joy. The energy gave a final peace to my evening.
I left feeling accomplished in the challenged and a little more tired than expected. But I remembered the familiar calm and comfort from 4 years prior when the practice was a necessity. I drove home with a clear head and a calm mind.
Today, my neck is reminding me that I forgot about its injury, but otherwise, still relishing in the experience. However, I still have a hesitation about going back. Though I know that as soon as I get there I will be glad I did. I’m wondering where this internal reluctance is coming from. It is always thwarted once my feet are on the mat.