As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently attended a week of free yoga classes, ranging from therapeutic to HOT (I was actually relieved that we could only get the room up to 80 degrees.) Since then, I’ve gone to two classes at 502 Power Yoga, the only studio that teaches Baptiste Power Yoga in Kentucky.
Last night I was a part of the lululemon sponsored class that attracted a roomful of yogis, men and women of all ages. Since we were packed in like sardines, I really got to know my neighbors. The young woman on the mat to my right was also recently married (in November) and is also a runner, so we naturally dove into conversation. This made it a lot less awkward when we bent our legs in downward facing dog and tapped our neighbors with our toes, or when we went through chaturanga as a row, hands on our neighbors’ shoulders and opposite legs over their low backs.
I’ve learned a lot from my experience with Baptiste power yoga in just my few practices. One, is that while yoga is sometimes a beautiful solitary practice, a time to collect yourself, it’s also a gratifying communal experience. I feel myself challenged by the instructors, but with their encouragement and the energy of everyone around me, I try more and achieve more than I would on my own. And even if I don’t, like when I totally fell out of my back bend in tree pose last week, or when my mat was so slippery from sweat that my wheel slips out from under me, we can all laugh about it and move on with a grin.
Sometimes the pressure, often put on us by ourselves, creates so much negativity in our lives that we get bogged down by it. I’ve been there myself – the whole year of 2013 was incredibly stressful for me. Coincidentally, as I realized this morning, it’s also a period in my life when I let my yoga practice drop off…
Yoga practice at this studio is meant to be enjoyed, and this reminds me that life is meant to be enjoyed. Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the positive in my life when I feel like a grumpy cat, but taking a moment out can help. During yoga practice, I am challenged, just as I am in my daily life. On my mat is where I learn to have patience with myself, allowing myself to make mistakes as long as I keep on trying. When I do achieve, I gain a sense of confidence. When I’ve sweat through an hour of twisting, balancing and endless push ups (oh, the spaghetti arms!) I come out exuberant, knowing that I couldn’t have done it without those around me, and glad to have shared the experience.
When I get home, I’m tired. But before I fall asleep, I take time to notice the positivity that infected my practice and seeped into my evening. If I’m attentive, I can diffuse this into other areas of my life, including my relationship with myself, my marriage, my work and places I’ve yet to discover. This, too, takes practice and discipline, but I think it’s an important goal for me to pursue, one that will benefit from and circle back to my yoga practice.