Yoga and Unexpected “Ahhhhh”

It’s Wednesday morning, but I’m writing about Monday night.  Why?  Because it was great – really great. Of course all my classes are pretty great, but this one had something special going on.  It left me feeling both completely relaxed and totally invigorated! So, after class, I jotted down some notes about what I thought was making the difference and have expanded upon them here.

The circumstances of the class didn’t necessarily bode well for me.  Evening is not my best time for yoga.  I’m a morning person (more or less) and by 7:30, I’m almost ready for bed.  I have to push myself a little harder to get out the door for a class at that time.  Helpfully, our teacher training requires that we take one Vinyasa class a week with Lisa or Beth, the two yogis leading the teacher training.  Based on my  schedule, that means either Monday night or Saturday morning, and Saturday morning is my only day to sleep in even a little, so…   All that to say – evenings are not my best active practice yoga time.  In addition to the time, I went in with some stomach issues and the remnants of a bronchial illness that keeps hanging on.  So, not in my peak physical condition – whatever that is.  It’s also a class that I’ve only attended a few times, meaning that I’m not fully comfortable with the people in the room.  And, the class was packed.  When I say packed, I am not even kidding.  There was about 2 inches (maybe) between my mat and the mats to the left and right of me.  That’s close!

With this as a starting point, I wasn’t sure how class would be.  But, it was fabulous, wonderful, stupendous.  Why?  Well, that’s a good question and I’m not sure of the answer.  Maybe it was just a fluke that my breath was easy to focus on, my mind stayed in the moment without the effort that I sometimes need to bring it back, and the poses jived with  my needs at that moment.  But, maybe it was other things.  Maybe it was the closeness of the room and the energy from all of those bodies and minds in one place and one time working toward one end.  Perhaps it was the fact that Beth, the instructor, talked about stillness and steadiness early in the class and wove that theme back through in ways that caused me to really reflect on how I was approaching the poses, and adjust my expectations to work toward those ideas – rather than trying quite so hard to “do” the poses perfectly.  It might have been the presence in the room of several fellow teacher trainees.  We haven’t been together long, but the training class is already developing a very nice, comfortable, safe group culture.  Maybe it was the selection of poses, that nicely balanced what was achievable and comfortable with what created challenge and some dissonance.  It might have been the music selection, that focused on the idea of stripping away our illusions (delusions) of wh0 we should/could be and coming back to who we are.  And, I’m completely sure that Beth’s frequent return to the idea that it didn’t matter if you “made it” into a pose – whatever; you were there and doing it and that was what mattered – made a difference in my experience.

Whatever it was, I liked it.  It really worked for me.  After the class was over, I felt fabulous.  There was no self-recrimination, even though there were plenty of poses that I couldn’t get fully into.  There was no second guessing my responses or abilities.  There was no wondering how anyone else in the room was judging my practice.  And, I had a wonderful positive energy flowing through my body.  Ahhhhh…  So, nope, I’m not sure exactly what made it so fantastic, but I’m going to keep thinking about it, because this is the experience I want to have in class, and it’s certainly the experience I want to bring to my students some day.

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