Walking down to the studio this morning it was chilly but a wonderful way to start the day as I dropped my vehicle off to be repaired. The path I took lead me to a stunning view of the river valley and the sun and clouds cooperated making for an ethereal atmosphere all around me.
It is often times like these that I am inspired and reflective, simple moments that one wouldn't think spur deep thinking but for me simplicity is best. After a weekend of yoga at The Shine Festival in St. Albert I think back to how far I've come over the past few years. From first trying yoga skeptically because it happened to work with my schedule, to trying to meditate when my mom was dying up until I took teacher training last summer there is no way to predict all that has evolved.
I remember my first time. Yoga was a challenge for my ego and the challenge was accepted to get good at it. Little did I know at the time that yoga isn't something you get "good" at for the sake of being good at. It is an evolution, a slow steady build up and practice of daily drops in the bucket adding up to final postures that seem to defy gravity. (Note: not close to that yet but that 's okay.)
The first class I didn't understand how to flip my toes and why are my legs shaking in "warrior" I thought I was strong? In a time of intense stress yoga was an hour of focusing on anything but my life and often times I was so surprised by how fast it went and how by focusing on postures my body took my mind out of the equation. I was even more surprised when the tears flowed freely after yoga relaxation not understanding completely what had happened but it felt good and right.
When class ended and I had no more outlet for release, the desire was still there even if sporadic and uninformed I tried as I could to figure meditation out. My version of mediation: workout until you shake and are pouring sweat, the sit still and be silent. It seemed that I had to work out all my stress first physically before I could be "still". Stillness was a new idea to me but after caring for my mom some days I was so emotionally spent that I craved the release to leave my body per say. Sometimes I felt as though I could sit and look down over myself into a place that wasn't so sad. It worked but it felt awkward sitting "meditating" the first few times. What if someone saw me, what was that noise I heard, why am I having thoughts, am I supposed to have thoughts, stop thinking, what will I eat for supper...on and on and on. Some stillness.
But, as with anything whether it's your first mile or your first date things get less awkward over time and soon they become a thing of ease. Even at the qiqong session with a full fledged bootcamp-yoga fusion class going on I was able to go deep into emotions and space of my mind. Something I could not have done three years ago. There is a maturity that evolves with anything as you continue to practice and a patience where you start to believe that what you're doing is good and with that maturity comes the understanding that the worst thing you could do is stop. Why give up on a relationship because it requires work each day? Why give up yoga after the first pose you find out you're not Gumby? Why give up on meditation cause you have thoughts?
The realization is if you don't you will improve, it will become easier and more comfortable. True story!
As I sat at the end of savasana (corpse) after an intense yoga session in plain view of many people my friend snapped this photo of me sitting being so thankful for what my body just gave me and feeling blissful. If a couple of years ago you asked me to sit in the open I would have wondered who was watching, what they were thinking, do I look silly but now I just feel free. No one to answer to and no one to consider judgement from as important. That is something you don't get on the first time of anything, self efficacy deepened just like the river creating a gorge through rock from gentle steady flowing persistence. Nothing fancy, magical or radical. Just me.
It is said that yoga is the path to self through self and I agree. Being still in poses has helped me find a self I didn't know was waiting there and until I became quiet could I hear the that encouragement sitting under the surface. Yes, yoga may seem about getting flexible and it is but most of all it's how flexible your mind becomes by being kind, compassionate and loving to yourself.
I'm glad I didn't quit after the first time, remember after the first time many, many things always get better.
That reminds me of the drive home for the first time after my son got his learner's, thank goodness it always gets better after the first time. Whew. Had a few mantras repeating to myself to make it home from that one!
I Live Life Now,