When I look back over the past two weeks, I think the best thing to come out of my time off (in addition to ridding myself of my ever persistent cough and 4 kilos of weight!) was that I learned how to breathe again.
Over the years I have taken numerous yoga classes. Group classes, individual sessions-Iyengar, Bikram, Hatha-I’ve tried them all and the only thing they had in common was that I didn’t enjoy them and rarely went back after one class.
So imagine my surprise when I attended my first yoga class near the ocean two weeks ago and found myself looking forward to going back the next day. In fact, the thing I enjoyed more than anything else from the past two weeks, including the various treatments, was my daily yoga class.
The instructor was very calm as he took us through each asana, explaining the benefits of each pose along the way. He was kind, non-judgmental and patient with everyone, including those of us who were stiff as boards when we started. With each pose he would provide gentle reminders to inhale and exhale.
The first day I went to class I struggled my way through the 3 sun salutations. And the shoulder stand-there was no way that was going to happen! But by the end of the first week I found my flexibility and balance increasing-I could bend forward and grab my toes and I could stand in tree pose or stand on one foot and hold my other ankle and reach forward without falling over. By the end of two weeks I was up to 8 rounds of the sun salutations and for the first time in my life I could lay on my stomach, and hold both my ankles and bend back like a bow. And yes, I could finally hold a shoulder stand-not for very long, but I was doing it.
Through all of it I was breathing.
I began looking forward to class even on days that started out a little sluggish. With each breath in I felt my body awaken and with each breath out I felt it relax. By the end of each class I was finding a new balance between being energized and being totally at peace. I found that my mind was alert and my creativity was reaching new heights.
I know that yoga at home won’t be the same as what I experienced during my two weeks by the ocean, surrounded by great people in a beautiful setting with a wonderful instructor, but I will push myself to keep moving forward, and most of all, I will continue to breathe.