for the first time in 3 years, i went to a formal yoga class. w00t! beside my relationship with hubby, yoga's been the longest relationship i've ever been in.
you're probably wondering why a nice lutheran girl is doing yoga. i took my first class 13 years ago. it was sponsored by a local university and classes were at hubby's workplace. for several years i took weekly classes from two retired school teachers. the one teacher was my knitting teacher (i did yoga long before i learned to knit, and i remember taking knitting along for something to do while waiting for class to start!) they closed their studio and taught classes through the local hospital. i would have taken classes there too, except they were taught in 6 week sessions for $60 and there was no wiggle room as to which class i could take or making up a class. with twins and a big kid, i never knew my schedule from day to day, and that was way too much money. a lady from my yoga class started teaching yoga and i went to her classes for a couple of months, but her class didn't flow as smoothly as my old teachers' and left me feeling more stressed (!!) so i gave up. for the past 3 years i spent my yoga money on a swim pass and swam laps instead.
last week my newspaper wrote a feature article about a new yoga studio that opened in a nearby community. lewisburg wellness and yoga studio opened recently and taught different forms of yoga, from hatha (which i learned originally years ago; my knitting teacher taught kripalu yoga) to flow yoga to power yoga. they planned to have kids classes, and also had a pilates instructor. i would love to learn pilates! these classes run every day, giving me greater flexibility in attending a class. the studio also offered different payment options like my old yoga teachers did, and the money was good for all classes, any time.
today i opted for the "lunchtime restorative" class, which was a noontime class with simple stretching and an assortment of yoga poses. i was worried about not keeping up, as i hadn't done formal yoga for several years. i also hurt way more now (damn knees and wrists!) and feared this would hinder my poses. i explained this to my new teacher, in addition to mentioning my major health issues, and she assured me that the poses and stretches she taught were pretty straight forward and to listen to my body if something didn't feel good.
we started out with stretches and yoga breathing, then moved onto flower poses, sun salutation, warrior poses, balance and my favorite, savasana. i surprised myself by working through my poses with few problems - apparently my body remembered them! i guess my body had more stretch to it than i remembered!
i knew my body had been knocked out of joint from carrying the twins (40 pounds on a 5 foot body is stressful) but i had no idear how messed up my joints and muscles were. my core and lower back muscles took the brunt of it, and sometimes a muscle would stitch up. during warrior pose my thigh muscles literally shook. and did i sweat. now, it was a warm day and i don't think the studio had AC, but sweat was poring off of me and my glasses kept steaming up. i can't remember ever sweating at yoga. the instructor joked, saying it was our fat cells crying. if that's the case, my fat cells better be having a nervous breakdown, cos i was drenched. and if regular yoga was sweaty, can you imagine me doing bikram yoga?!
despite the aches and pains of the stretching and poses, my body feels ALIVE. my body hasn't felt this way in YEARS. isn't that sad? it took an hourlong class to knock my body back into place, and to find my focus. it's too bad it took 3 years to get to this place.
some Christians knock yoga becos of its roots in Hinduism. poses originally honored gods and goddesses and animals; Christians worship only one God. i personally don't view it that way, i don't do tree pose to worship a tree, or cobra pose to worship a snake god; i treat these poses the same way i treat jumping jacks and sit ups - ways to improve my balance or to stretch or tone muscles. yoga emphasizes on breathing and meditation; when i do yoga breathing, i'm bringing oxygen to my muscles and body - i'd do the same thing if i was jogging or playing basketball. and i don't really meditate - i try to calm my monkey brain by trying to focus on peace. i pray that way too - to calm my monkey brain, and to bring peace to my body. for me, yoga is merely a gentle form of exercise, just like swimming.
i enjoyed my yoga class. my teacher was cheerful and nice. she wasn't show-offy and know it all. i think i'll go back, and if i could i'd try to go a couple times a week. i liked how relaxed my body felt, and even my brain feels less edgy. with 3 kids, that really helps!