Yoga came into my life at a time when I was desperately searching for ways to improve my quality of life.
Squeezing my time between two young children under the age of 5, commuting daily to a part time job in the finance industry, running a large new house and trying to maintain my marriage… My “me” time was inexistant and the time I spent wearing any of my numerous caps was wasted thinking about the next task at hand. Bottom line, I couldn’t juggle it all.
I felt I was failing everything and everyone, including myself. (Any of this hit home with you?…)
My moment of truth appeared on a day I was at a dance recital for my young daughter and couldn’t appreciate her sweet performance because I was worrying about dinner and whatever else was crossing my mind then and to come later. It dawned on me there and then I was missing out on being present in everything I was trying to accomplish. I felt myself disappearing into constant doing and never just being. I was physically losing my hair, exhausted and depressed, I turned to traditional medicine for a “happy pill” and was told I was in need of practicing some kind of physical activity, he might have actually mentioned I should do some “sport”. I wanted to cry and scream… Was this his only answer? … but when was I supposed to make the time for “sport”???
I wanted a quick fix, Something to pick me up and keep me going at light speed to keep up with: kids, job, house and husband, Don’t stop, just push through! etc…
My ex-boss mentioned to me during a catch up lunch, that he had discovered Yoga during one of his recent trips to Sri-lanka and that I should give it a try. I wasn’t super convinced as my one and only experience with Yoga was a few years prior, during my second pregnancy, at a very traditional Yoga studio where my friend and I had been welcomed by a “solemn serious bunch of orange clothed hari-krishnas” as I called them. We sat around a room, and sang “OM” and other strange songs and giggled and rolled around I thought it was all very funny and peculiar and that really one would need to be “high” to actually buy into the whole concept… That was my only experience and needless to say it was not an enlightening one… But that was then and the truth is, I just wasn’t ready for the practice in this format ….
But seeing how desperate I was and that a different yoga studio was located just a few feet away from my office back then, I decided to give it another try. They offered “power yoga” lunch classes that seemed to fit right in with my hectic schedule. So I walked into beautiful zen, clean and beautiful studio, that would soon become my haven for the months to come.
So I took my first class and was asked by the teacher if I did any sport and I said quite confidently that I had done ballet for numerous years (nothing competitive, just your average weekly hour) even through my young adult years pre-kids, thinking I was flexible “enough” and not too out of shape,… Well I was in for one hell of an experience to prove me otherwise… Turns out I was far from flexible, barely touching my toes and sitting upright, I had ZERO upper-body strength and was pretty sure my arms would buckle under me in a plank. In Warrior 1&2 my thighs were screaming so hard, it felt like my quadriceps (I didn’t really know there name back then) would shred to pieces, I couldn’t even keep my arms up by my side for the 5 long breaths (OMG those breaths last forever).
And that’s the other thing I realised… breathing… who ever spends so much time thinking about their breathing. I couldn’t get through a full sun salutation on the breath work that was instructed without panting and straining. Forget Sun Salutation B, that remained a mystery to me for many years…. Most people in the room were older than me and all held desk jobs just like me, but they were light on their feet, strong in their core and their focus during that 1 hour was absolutely unshakable.
Following the teachers’ instruction, there was no talking, no asking questions, no looking around at whatever other yogis were doing, no judgmental looks, no showing off, they just moved their bodies and folded themselves into bretzel shapes, held their weight with grace and strength and the sound of their breath was like a soothing lullaby to my heart and soul… When we reached “savasana” relaxation, my body was spent, but my mind was at ease, my internal busyness had slowed down and I allowed myself to drift to a place of pure bliss.
This was the most amazing part of the experience, pure silence, stillness and inner peace. The post Savasana bliss landed on my lips as of that very first class. I totally got why people come back multiple times a week, why they twist and fold and jump and breathe and hold and repeat… Because who wouldn’t once you know what awaits at the end of the 60min…
I barely survived my first yoga class, but I was mesmerized and convinced this was exactly what I needed.
What was your first yoga class like? Do you remember?