A while back I signed up for this Groupon thing, which I highly recommend (www.groupon.com). Each day some kind of deal comes to my inbox for food deals, entertainment, whatever. I especially like the golf deals.
Anyway, a couple of weeks back I got a Groupon deal for yoga classes. Now, six months ago that would have been an instant banishment to the trash folder. But this time it was different. I clicked on the deal and saw it was ten yoga sessions for $29. I was intrigued. I pondered it then thought what the hell. Let’s give it a try. It had been years since I tried anything new, and part of my latest life journey is to meditate more, slow down, and just be happy in being me.
I clicked, submitted my card number and presto – new yoga student.
Last Monday was my first session – ‘Gentle Beginner Yoga’ it was titled. The instructor, Lee, was fantastic. So upbeat, so positive. My classmates were equally ebullient. They had, as I was to find out, strong auras. The whole place has a serene feel to it – soft, warm colors, soothing music, calm, inviting.
So I grabbed my mat, shucked my shoes, and waited for the session to start. Lee comes in and in her always-positive way, got us loosened up. Here was the first indicator that this was going to be tougher than I thought – I was as tight as a banjo string. Then she started to guide us through the various classic yoga poses – downward dog, table top, cobra, cat. She emphasized the breathing – in and out through the nose. Feel your center. Open your heart. Hands to the sky.
Next came positions for balance. Stand on one leg. Simple, right? Uh, no. I was a quaking, quivering bag of unbalanced nerves and institutionalized stress and tightness. Lee was flowing through the motions with swan-like grace. I looked like an old woman trying to beat a mugger off with a purse.
Thirty minutes into this ‘Gentle Beginner’ session and I was sweating like a whore in church. If this was ‘Gentle Beginner’ I shuddered to think what ‘Rigorous Advanced’ would consist of. I was hyperventilating and shaking.
A couple of the moves I simply could not do. My body was just not ready for that type of movement. I looked at Lee and mouthed an ‘I’m sorry’ and she just smiled, then said to the class in her calming way, ‘Yoga is about you. You decide what you can do and what you can’t. You are not judged here.’
That made me smile. And relaxed.
The session ended with 15 minutes of lying on the mat while soft, chakra-tinged music played and the lights off. I smelled incense. It was lovely. About ten minutes in and I felt someone massaging my lower legs. It was Lee. It felt wonderful.
We then got up and did a final shake-off of our muscles. Lee then said that, whenever yoga masters end their sessions they put their hands together and, as an acknowledgement of the inner spirit in me honoring the inner spirit in you, we turn, bow and say, ‘Namaste’.
When it was over, Lee could not wait to ask what I thought. I said it was very positive and that I would be back. She said wonderful, and to not give up. I went back last Thursday for my second session. This one was titled ‘Hot Vinyasa Yoga’ – which was similar to Monday’s session, but with space heaters. I lasted a half hour. I could not finish the session, but I am taking Lee’s advice. I’m not quitting. I just registered for Monday night’s class. I am motivated and inspired.
My flagging but growing spirit in me is in awe of the strength of yours, Lee.