I went to my 3rd (out of 7) Wednesday YIN yoga class. I have been trying to blog about this new class but I haven’t had the words. But after class the other day, I needed to work through some of my feelings and thoughts about and associated with this class.Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny day…still cold and a lot tad windy but beautiful. Even the drive to class was beautiful. Every song that came on the radio was upbeat and singalongable and I didn’t hit any traffic snags. The drive relaxed me and pumped me up all at the same time.
I couldn’t wait for class.
Stevee, yoga instructor, started the class with a few questions:
Why are you here? Has your reason changed?
If you know me, you know I’m sort of loud and outgoing and upbeat. I put on a good show of confidence but I have many bouts of self doubt and insecurity. Especially around strangers. And even more especially when I am truly honest with my feelings and thoughts and emotions…in front of strangers or coworkers. I wait to hear what others say and share before I let my all out loud.
When Stevee asked these questions I was the first to volunteer. I blurted out my yoga “story” which is not much of a story but I’ll bullet point it here anyway.
*my first yoga experience was about 4 years ago. I hated it. In fact, yoga pisses me off. I didn’t know how and couldn’t turn my brain off. Plus, I had no balance. I made it thru 4 classes and that was it.
*knee and ankle surgery. Lots of physical therapy.
*last year when I had a gym membership, I tried a yoga class again. This class was intense but the instructor always repeated, “listen to your body,” “this is a judgement free zone,” and “do not compare yourself to your neighbor, eyes on your mat.” I didn’t go to many classes but but I did discover I could silence my brain chatter. I could listen to my body.
*I discovered how good downward dog felt on my poor achy calf (remember that surgeries leg). However, I discovered DWD too late because my other gym activities left me with a bummed calf.
*I rested my calf. I got lazy. I got bummed. I got downright depressed.
*I set huge goals that now scare the bejeebus out of me.
*I came across this free yoga class at my college. The instructor hooked me in from her first hello. I signed up for Stevee’s emails and within a week or so, I had an invitation to her upcoming class. I had never heard if yin yoga but the description sounded like something I would be into.
*when I started this class, I wanted to work on my mind-body connection but I wanted to work that connective tissue to continue to heal, and increase flexibility and mobility, ankle which has an incredible amount of scar tissue. I wanted help with my running, because of that big, scary goal.
*my reasons for continuing this class is the emotional attachment to that hour on the mat. I sound like a yogi My body as much as my mind as much as my soul need my hour on Wednesday. I almost cannot give you the words for how much I feel during yin.
*then Stevee asked if I was using it off the mat. And I truly believe that in this class I am learning to be mindful, on and off my mar. I still have to remind myself to listen and to trust myself but I am more mindful off my mat.
I know I rambled, and I didn’t get into this much detail in class but I hit the highlights. When I was finished talking, I was all choked up. I didn’t actually cry, i didn’t hold tears in I just didn’t actually cry. We went around the room and I tried to listen but I was very zoned into not own head. Not in a distracted, what’s on my to do list sorta way but in a deep thought zone. It was a weird zone-out because I was still very aware of the conversations around me as my classmates shared their yoga stories and what brought them to this class.
Class was awesome….just the right combination of poses and conversation. I am soaking in this new knowledge. Yin yoga is different than any other yoga class I have ever taken or any dvd I have ever followed along with. In Yin you hold poses for 3-5 minutes and you use props – blocks and straps and blankets to assist in the poses. The point of the poses is not to engage all your muscles while you hold a crazy pose, instead its actually the opposite. In Yin, you sort of turn to mush in the poses. Stevee likens it to acupuncture without the needles. It reminds me of that “hurt so good” feeling you get when you foam roll after a 10-miler. I am truly learning what my body likes and needs.
And I think I am falling in love with my body. And yoga.
It was the perfect day for yoga.
The ride home from class was just as beautiful, just as perfect. I can’t remember what was on the radio. I was too busy enjoying the scenery.
See for yourself….