When asked what my strengths are, I never mention the word “calm.” I am fairly certain that there isn’t one of my peeps who would suggest that I am in any way calm, peaceful or soothing by nature. Not that I can’t conduct myself in a calm manner. But that’s just not a defining trait of my personality.
Last night, in search of other ways to prolong the relaxation and calmness that I had experienced on vacation, I hauled myself out of the house and off to a yoga class. I don’t need anyone to try to convince me of the benefits of yoga. I’m a believer. Truly, I am! I started yoga when I was a dancer (in a far off universe, eons ago) and I was a religious home-practitioner of simple yoga sequences up until I became a mama. I didn’t get all yoga-crazy. It was a habit and it kept me fairly limber and managed my stress. In the past eight years, I think I’ve been to 9 yoga classes. Probably not the best track record for anyone who wishes to cultivate a yoga practice.
I’ve made many alternate choices in the last eight years. Mamahood. Time with my wife after Shortstack’s bedtime. Reading a book that has been on the shelf for months (sometimes, years). Washing dishes. Vegging out in front of the TV. All of these pushed yoga to the side. But, last night, I put yoga on the top of my list. And today I’m giving myself a HUGE pat on the back! I enjoy taking classes at Yoga Hawaii in Kaimuki. The teachers are ALWAYS welcoming, pleasant, knowledgeable and compassionate. Last night was the first class I took from Stephanie. She was brilliant! Besides being a fellow recovering-ballet-dancer (sometimes I think we truly are a breed unto ourselves), she had a thorough and consumable knowledge of anatomy and physiology which she incorporated in her detailed explanations of yoga foundations. WOW! What a revelation! Not only am I being instructed on foundations, but I am being given information as to the WHY of these foundations. Stephanie led us through two sequences and I could move slowly; feeling my body again and finding a rhythm and pace that worked for me and with me. I wasn’t jumping in and trying to keep up. I wasn’t analyzing what I was and wan’t doing correctly. I was feeling. And breathing. And being. And calm. Yes, my friends, I was calm. By the end of the class, I had stretched and reached. I had challenged my body (just getting in the car to get to yoga was a challenge). I felt looser and more grounded. And I was smiling and sitting in peace. WOOHOOO for me!
Will I keep up this yoga practice? I hope that I will continue to put my Wednesday-night yoga class at the top of my gotta-do list. Can I promise that it will happen every week? Oh, please! If you have a family – and a job – and a daily life, then you probably understand that you never know what’s going to come up. But I am holding onto that piece of peace and calm that I came home with last night. And I put the reminder in my phone – and on my calendar – and in my journal. So, just maybe, this year’s theme of being willing will extend to me being willing to indulge myself in a this yoga practice and nurture a tad bit of calm in myself.