Yoga is always with me, its principles, its reminder to stay in the moment, to be gentle with oneself, to flow with our breath, to be present and aware without judgment. But It had been a looooong time since I’d been to a class…to practice and breathe with others who appreciate yoga, too. It was invigorating and cleansing, but mostly it felt like coming home…even the faint fragrance of yesterday’s incense felt similar to the wafting of chocolate chip cookies at home…that kind of warm and comforting feeling that touches one’s core…that reassures one that it is safe to be oneself, that fills one with assurance of the goodness and freedom that comes from acknowledging one’s true self in the safe place called “home.”
Though I didn’t plan to go to a yoga class this morning, I changed my direction and went right in when I noticed a couple of women going in the door with yoga mats. There was not any hesitation, I just trekked right on in. My thought was open to the grace that yoga often brings to me and I set my intention mentally when I walked in the studio door. My intention was to be open to receive and nurture the spiritual growth (metaphysical progress) that was in store for me and to feel a sense of balance.
As we settled onto our mats in our own ways, about 30 of us, with a variety of stretches, breathing, and the other things that we do as we mentally and physically come together in yoga, there was such a quiet and tender feeling of community. I loved the moment. No one spoke, but there was a common awareness, a common thread…we knew we were all there together to participate in something nourishing….and we were eager and expectant. Mmmmm, that was nice.
Then our teacher, who introduced herself as Barbara, began to talk about the focus of our class today…it was spiritual progress and growth as it relates to change. Bingo!…she had my total attention! How had she tapped into my intention, or I into hers? Part of what she spoke was that if one is waiting around for something to change, either physically or in a certain situation, one ends up feeling exhausted, powerless, or even frustrated. But if one surrenders to a focus on spiritual growth, the focus shifts and one can drop the burden of how and when things will change, knowing that change WILL come as we are mentally (metaphysically) prepared for it. I loved the thought! And I was tuned into it during our entire practice. It was such a restful, freeing thought.
During our practice I was gentle with myself. There was no sense of urgency or a striving to push myself too far. But there was a subtle nudging to do my best. . . to be in the flow of Excellence… to let my breath (inspiration) move me… to move with the impulse of the Divine Influence, feeling my connection to It with each posture. The stretching became a co-mingling of a mental and physical stretch, with the mental aspect being in the driver’s seat, led by inspiration.
I was grateful that I could slip right into the class and the rhythm, even though it had been more than a year, maybe even two, since I’d been to a class. I was glad to be reminded that so many things are like riding a bike…once you have taken something into who you are, learned it, digested it, and practiced it...it is there to rely upon when needed. It is such a mental process, a surrendering to something so much bigger than me, so much more potent and guiding.
Alas, my breath feels free and clear. My thought feels uplifted and confident. And my body is feeling the benefits of all of the above. I am grateful for another opportunity to see that Inspiration (being open to the constancy, rhythm and presence of spiritual growth) is what impels us, moves us, changes us. Thank you to the yoga teacher, Barbara, yoga teachers everywhere, and to our divine Teacher…that breath within us that brings us into a communion with divine Wisdom and Life…that helps stretch us to our full potential, day by day, experience by experience.
Yoga rocks my boat! Hey, I think there is a song about that. It’s called the Yoga Boatman! Or was that the Volga Boatman?
Written by Tien Stone Langlois, Director/Instructor, Scholars Together Learning Community Photos by Jay Langlois, Instructor, Scholars Together