Sunday, October 24, 2010

of yoga, sweat, and tears

"The more you let go the more you will be supported"

"Look deep inside yourself and accept everything that you find without judgment or criticism"

"Embrace the areas that you feel resistance. Sink into them and flow through the physical strife"

There are a variety of reasons one might start to practice yoga. Flexibility. Lose weight. Tone up. Physical therapy from an injury. I am not sure why I started. Maybe because running is one of my least favorite activities and I don't have access to a gym at which I feel comfortable. I started/learned a little yoga last summer and have continued to practice when I have time. However, an introduction to Hot Yoga this summer has me hooked. I don't mean 'hit the studio on the weekends', like, I crave it. I think about it at work and have to space out my sessions due to soreness. Can you overdo yoga?

I suppose I love the feeling of a heart workout without doing cardio. I love the sweating. I love the tone it gives my legs, and the definition it increases in my upper body. I dig the flow of bodies moving together, and the calm messages my instructor gives the class as we struggle to stand in one spot with a simple lift of a leg. Leaving the studio I feel as though I could leap over the skyscrapers of midtown and keep on going. That in itself is a good reason to keep going back.

However, in the midst of all the physical benefits I am starting to feel the emotional and mental impacts. More often than not at the end of class we will hit a pose of great reflection, like rabbit. Or the instructor will read an excerpt from a text that speaks into my life in a very direct way. I am starting to be able to reflect in other areas of my life. Be able to embrace stress and move through it. Be able to handle the extreme ups and downs that I fluctuate between - and not allow them to overpower my life.

Today I went to the "West Coast Power Flow" class due to the time slot. I just didn't want to go before 6:30. Todd was on the roster, of whom I have not taken a class from. I had my doubts, but I knew it was going to be a good class when he started with "Hi, this is the West Coast Power Flow class because I am from the west coast. Therefore, I am kinda weird, so this class is going to be kinda weird. Let's have some fun." My first genuine smile of the day stretched across my face and so the next 90 minutes of pure intensity began. Multiple kinds of inversions, warrior pose flows, seemingly endless vinyasa flows, 5 min non-stop ab workout, and some delightful stretching. I have never smiled, laughed, or felt more elated during a class. The last stretch (of which name I cannot remember) was leg over leg with heels on hips and a forward fold. Boom, there it was, the internal reflection feeling. And the tears. We moved eventually into almost a fetal position on our sides. Again, the tears. To finish there was 5 minutes of corpse pose with guided reflection of chakra placement and use. Laying there in the dim light, with my body opened up and exhausted I could feel it all start to pour out. Todd went to every person and assisted with shoulder and neck placement - upon which it intensified. Thank goodness for towels and sweat because wiping away the leakage was not noticeable. I am not sure why I cry when I go to class. I don't know what is releasing inside of me or finally allowing itself to be felt, but it does, effortlessly.

At the end of class a new student mentioned to the teacher that he had watched me and another student because "We were really good". I told him that I had just started and was really not experienced at all. Todd said "That is 'cause she has good body awareness, she is just doing what she can do. She doesn't care what other people are doing. She doesn't do Shoga." Student replies, "Shoga?" Todd, "Yeah, know...the girls that come in here to 'look pretty'" demonstrating with his arms stretched wide, "I love to look at myself in the mirror". I humbly said thank you, and that I truly enjoyed the message and experience of his class; that it was exactly what I needed tonight. It put me in the right place =)

So thank you, Todd. Thank you, Yoga. I am connecting to myself and my consciousness in ways that are finally feeling authentic.

I am not going to be too serious.
I am not going to take things too lightly.
I am going to be completely honest.
I am going to respect.
I am going to require respect.

New mottos. New life. Same me.