Warrior Girl Goes to Yoga Class

I love being a beginner. There’s something liberating about it, a new door to walk through, a fresh new room to enter. No history to weigh me down.

That doesn`t last, of course.

This week, the fresh new room was a yoga studio.

I have almost no experience with yoga, apart from a ten-week Parks and Rec program offered in the library of an elementary school when I was a teenager. I had signed up for the course with my best friend, Tina. All I remember now is a single episode of shoulder stand. There I was with Tina beside me, our legs heaved up in the air, toes pointed skyward, when a single piece of lint detaching from my sock and floated down toward my face. I waggled my head this way and that trying to avoid it, sputtering “Oh no, oh no, attacked by lint!” Tina and laughed so hard that tears rolled down our faces. I don’t think the yoga instructor was impressed with our lack of, uh, gravitas.

In retrospect, a good belly laugh is about as healthy as it gets. But I digress.

The new yoga studio is on the second-floor of an historic old building on the main street. The room is both bright and intimate, its high tin-ceilings painted chocolate brown and framed in white, bare brick walls lining one side of the room and huge wood-framed windows on the other. When I stepped onto the coffee-bean coloured hardwood floor (okay, laminate), I was met with the scent of soothing essential oils. The instructor lay resting on her back on a blue yoga mat in the middle of the floor. When we arrived, she sat up quietly and came to greet us, her smile warm, her manner welcoming. Before long, three other devotees arrived, all friends of mine. A bit of my history followed them in.

We spent the next hour in a variety of poses, stretching, twisting, breathing, mindful of our bodies, or at least attempting to be. The instructor`s voice lead us, soothes, and as the class wears on, she notes that, if we wish, we can adjust the position to make it more challenging, reach a little further, stretch longer. I hear this as though she is speaking directly to me, even if I haven`t been in a yoga class before. I am flexible and athletic by nature. Enter ego. Notice more history wedging its way in the door. I stretch further, lift higher. Forget to breathe.

The next day, my lower back will be sore, but I don`t think of that as I push my pelvis toward the ceiling. My body is squeaking out a message to me, something along the lines of um, can we take it a little easy here? We’re not eighteen anymore, Toto. But I can’t hear it over the shriek of my ego: are you kidding me? Of course you can do this. Reach! Push! Stretch! Learning to listen to my body was the impetus for taking this class in the first place. That, and the hope that it might make my running life easier. Clearly I have some work to do.

Another class tomorrow, and hopefully, many more in the months ahead. Good thing. Apparently I have a lot to learn.

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