words and images by mk swanson
Yoga Teaches Me Something I Didn’t Expect

Yoga Teaches Me Something I Didn’t Expect

Today, I started what I thought of as an intense yoga practice–back to class at Red Sun Yoga, instead of practicing at home with advice from Charlotte at Yoga Flavored Life.

I struggled with the decision. I feel guilty about spending money on something I can do on my own. I am afraid (terribly afraid) that I will hurt badly through every class and spend half of each one in child’s pose with tears running down my face.

But I signed up yesterday, readied my mat and clothes last night, and got up early this morning to make my 8:00 class with Jenn, a substitute for the regular teacher. For calories, I drank only almond milk to keep my digestion stable and then drank a glass of water. I girded my loins on rising, on showering, on driving, and finally, on walking up the concrete steps to the studio.

I got there ten minutes before class. Jenn showed me where to put my things, and I finally put my mat down. And then picked it up to move closer, because it was just the two of us.

Jenn was a marvel. We did poses I didn’t know, or didn’t know had names (sleeping tiger, it band stretch, seated cow and cat). We began with the slowest and gentlest of warm ups that gave my pained hips time to get used to the idea that I wasn’t going to torture them this morning.

This was a 75 minute class in which I spent a total of five minutes on my feet! And yet, it stretched and challenged my hips and shoulders and gave me time to relax completely into each pose.

Jenn and Red Sun Yoga gave me the perfect experience today and proved that a yoga class can be super gentle. I didn’t even know! I thought I would get an “intense” experience, but instead, I got an intensely comforting one. I felt cared about, and I cared about myself. I didn’t feel slow or incapacitated by pain.

I did almost cry once, but it was in gratitude for feeling safe.

Then I came home and read Charlotte’s newsletter about being grateful for yoga, for the way it supports us, and the fact that our bodies are able in their way to practice it.

Thanks, yoga. Thanks, Body. Thank you, Jenn and Charlotte!