I’ve hesitated to write a post about this because I don’t want to come across as New Age. I really don’t know what that word means and I think yoga is often associated with being New Age.
But I learn a lot from its practice.
First, I think that I should explain what I mean by “practicing yoga”. Before I started yoga, the phrase “practicing yoga” intimidated me. Immediately, I conjured up images of hours in virtual silence as I contort my body in completely unnatural positions. All for what? I wasn’t sure. But I was pretty sure that as soon as I started yoga I would instantly become longer, leaner, and more flexible. (To my continued disappointment it doesn’t quite work that way.)
So one evening, when I was feeling out of sorts and like I just needed to do something…anything, I went to a yoga class. It was reminiscent of ballet which I found comforting. Yoga was new territory, but ballet was familiar. I was never excellent at ballet, but I took classes as a child so I did have a frame of reference for what was being asked of me: patience with myself, appreciation of my physical body, calm for my mind.
I do yoga between two and four times a week from a DVD that I bought. The video has five, twenty-minute classes that focus on different muscle groups. Nothing is extremely difficult. Well, I should say, nothing appears to be extremely difficult. But I have tight muscles and a curve in my spine so for me it’s all varying levels of difficult.
The instructor reminds me to breathe. Which in the beginning was especially important because I found that I was constantly holding my breath, willing my body to stretch further than it was prepared to go. And I soon discovered that scenario mirrored life. Often if I was uncomfortable with where I was, I tried to power forward to get to where I wanted to be. But whenever I’d rush through an exercise, of any description, I later found that I had missed an important part of preparation.
Yoga helped teach me to appreciate where I am. Do first things first so that when I get grow into the next stage I can really appreciate it.