This morning, I attended my very first yoga class. Back in December, when I made it public that I would be taking some time off from work to focus on healing, a friend at church suggested that I consider doing it. In particular, she suggested “Yin Yoga,” a special form of yoga that…well, it’s better to just copy and paste from the yoga studio’s website:
Yin yoga is a practice of long-held, deeply relaxing “stretching” poses that open and energize the “meridians,” or energy pathways of the body, restoring youthful joint mobility as you quietly activate and gather your chi, your prana—your life force.Whereas the yoga most people are familiar with appropriates the muscles or yang tissues of the body, yin yoga targets the more interior, supportive structures-the “fascia,” literally down to the bone marrow. Yin is every bit as vital as a heating or “yang vinyasa” yoga practice, where one flows from pose to pose, energetically pushing the envelope, concentrating on building muscular strength and stamina. In today’s world, Yin Yoga is the soothing balm, the elixir that is so badly needed to help us find balance in our stress-filled, over-scheduled lives. Join Nadya for an adventure in deep release!
Yoga is something I’d never tried before. I am always anxious at trying new things, so just getting up the nerve to go was a challenge. But now seemed like the right time. I’ve now been on this medical leave journey for about a month, and I have gotten into a rhythm. This rhythm now includes some exploration of mindfulness and meditation. I’ve been trying to do things that don’t come easy to me. So today seemed like the right day to try this. I actually signed up for the class a few days ago, so I had a few days of second-guessing myself, and getting anxious about it. Luckily, I had already paid for it, which is always a good motivator to go through with something!
I was nervous when I arrived. Luckily, everyone was friendly, and once the instructor realized I was new, she explained everything to me with a gracious smile. I don’t know how much of it I was doing “right” or not, but I can say this: I felt open. I felt serene. I felt in my body, and in the moment. Certainly there were moments of discomfort; I was surprised at just how difficult some of the poses were to hold, how much resistance I had to face. But it was alright. I experienced the tingling of mild numbness in my hands at several points, but I interpreted that as a sign that I was doing something new, that I was just starting to “break in” my body. I assume that will pass with time. But I felt a sense of calm throughout the class, a calm that seemed to stay with me for several hours. It was a good morning. I will definitely go back. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll try traditional yoga as well, but I probably will. There, now I said it here. So I guess I have to.