I just felt so......GOOD.
It was partly a sense of accomplishment, because I had wanted to do this for so long and finally pushed myself past years worth of hesitation, and partly that I was just incredibly relaxed afterward.
In the handful of hours before class started, though, I was full of my usual questioner questions, wanting to be more than fully prepared for what I was about to be a part of. Having attended the meditation class at least gave me a little peace about knowing that I liked the instructor, and that the studio would be familiar, but I had no clue about the poses we'd be doing, or the pace of the class, or how much more advanced my classmates would be.
I didn't know what to wear, or what to bring, and even those trivial things were making me wish I'd never signed up in the first place.
I figured it out and showed up, though - with about 30 seconds to spare. Thankfully my mom had already reserved a mat for me. (Note to self: buy a mat.)
When I got there, everyone was face down, practicing yogic breathing. I joined in - taking a while to come down to their pace after jogging up two flights of stairs, trying to focus on breathing smooth and even and making my stomach expand into the floor.
And then we got to the actual poses.
During the poses, I couldn't remember to breathe the right way. I guess after lots of experience with home workouts and all the, "remember to breathe!" drilling, I was at least remembering TO breathe, but the whole belly-growing, smooth and even business was lost on me. Thankfully she'd toss out a reminder every now and then, which I really needed when I was shaking and trying to remain in place.
And that's another thing - being in class, I fought so hard to remain steady in each pose. At home, if something felt too hard, I'd usually give up. But being there - and not wanting to be the girl who wasn't doing things all the way - certainly held me accountable in doing things the hard way.
(By the way, "the hard way" is relative from person to person, and according to Yoga, you shouldn't even try to force yourself into anything more than pushing your comfort a little past its limits.)
In what felt like no time at all, we shifted gears into a relaxation part of the class. It was basically a 20 minute long corpse pose. CORPSE POSE, you guys! You know I was down for that!
I don't have any idea why, but our instructor came by and put lavender oil on our wrists. I couldn't at all smell it from the position she had us in, so I'm not sure how it was helpful. Also, being me, I was thinking, "that's probably going to totally clash with my perfume."
So she leads us into our corpse pose relaxation, using the same lingo and instructions as the meditation workshop. This was the first time I learned of the symbolism of Savasana (the sanskrit term for corpse pose), and I remember it striking me as touching and significant.
However - I was pretty sure I had a long way to go. My body was fully complacent during this extended round of corpse pose - every single solitary cell of my physical body was relaxed, still, and melting into the floor. Even the areas that felt a little uncomfortable were paralyzed in their stillness. I would feel the urge to adjust for them, but then realize that my body had zero desire to move. I took this as a good sign, but I knew that not all of me was behaving as well.
My mind? Well my mind was earning itself a time out. It would not shut up.
My thoughts were good ones - they were inspired, excited, and happy ideas - but I wasn't supposed to be thinking them at that moment. She kept telling us that in any meditation - whether on its own or as a part of our yogic practice - our minds would act like a puppy at first. You'd try to make it sit and be still, but it would trot off at the first sign of movement or at the first interesting idea. The point is to just bring it back - over and over again.
Rather than making a puppy sit in place, though, you'd bring your mind back to the act of yogic breathing. But since that still felt complicated and unnatural to me, my mind was too confused about it to watch it for long. So instead, I was thinking about things to post on my blog, and what hour I would choose to work on my almost-finished paint-by-number. I wondered what food we'd plan to make for camping that weekend, and if Matt had gotten the kids in bed yet.
Towards the end, I had my mind calmed down a bit, but I still hadn't gained any insight on chakras or how to breathe into them, or how to tell my brain to shush.
It didn't matter, though.
What I'd done was enough to effect me, and I mean that about both that particular day and ever since.
I remember getting into my car that evening - it was a perfect 73 degrees outside, and the sun was just starting to soften and descend. I was filled with an overwhelming urge to roll the windows down on my way home and to feel the breeze on my skin. As I drove, I found myself desperately wanting a place to go and just watch the sunset.
(I didn't know it then, but this would be a common post-yoga-class feeling: an overwhelming desire to be outdoors.)
I don't think I've ever felt so good on a random Thursday in my entire life.
When I got home, I settled into the peaceful oasis of my bedroom - still in my yoga outfit...eating a bowl of ice cream (Rome wasn't built in a day, right?) to journal about how quickly and easy I'd fallen in love.
It felt big. I felt different. Energy buzzed around and through me.
If you have ever wanted to try Yoga, don't hold back.
You don't even know it, but you're avoiding a truer you.
Don't waste years being afraid of yourself the way I did.
Want to try a sample first? My (awesome) yoga instructor has a a recording of the way she leads her students through Savasana on her YouTube channel. You can get a sense for the exact practice that makes me a better me. (Click here: Systematic Relaxation)
Read My Other Yoga Posts: