Within the last two months or so I decided to start doing yoga again. I haven’t really been doing much in the way of physical activity (actually, I’ve been disgustingly vegetative) for an embarrassing about of time and I remembered how much I enjoyed practicing yoga years ago in classes offered at a couple of different gyms to which I had memberships. I think what made those practices so enjoyable was the instructor; simply put, she was incredible. She had a way of explaining poses and movement that made you fall in love with the art form of yoga. I looked forward to these classes; I enjoyed seeing how far I could push my body and figuring out how I could contort my body without hurting myself. It was definitely an experiment. A sweaty experiment.
Looking back, some of the aspects of these classes that I enjoyed the most were the way all of the poses were explained and how this gifted instructor would go around the room, gently correcting the tilt of her students’ hips or the placement of hands or feet. The slightest adjustment could make all the difference in the world! This particular instructor would walk around the room patiently going from student to student until we all were exhibiting the correct form.
When I decided that it was time to start my personal practice again, I went directly to the source of all information: the internet. I found a terrific yoga instructor who is almost as good as my first yoga teacher by searching YouTube and found some fantastic zoning-out music on iTunes. After some (okay, a lot) of study of The YouTube Yoga Guru’s (Esther Ekhart) yoga flows and hour long practices three to five days a week, I almost speak fluent Yoga: Downward Facing Dog, Upward Facing Dog, Plank, Sleeping Swan, and my personal favorite Oh Hell That Hurt.
In all seriousness, I’m absolutely infatuated with my yoga practice and the different forms of this ancient exercise. The transformation that occurs during my practice almost feels like magic to me; I come home from work Cranky Mean Lex, completely exhausted from being nice to people all day long (sometimes, you just don’t feel like playing nice, ya know?) and after my hour of zoning out with yoga and Native American flute music (yes, I said it: Native American flute music) I emerge from my room as Yoga Blissed-Out Relaxed Lex. Not every pose feels “natural” or easy (in fact, some are downright challenging and make me sweat) but somehow by the time I’m finished, my neck is relaxed, my shoulders are no longer tense, my back doesn’t feel crunchy anymore and I have a goofy smile on my face. I am transformed.
That hour of “being one” with my yoga mat and my breath turns me into a completely new person. During that time, my mind doesn’t wander to what-if’s and memories and worries about what is to come. I don’t even really have to think; it just happens: I breathe and I move with the rhythm of my breath. It’s just the kind of mental break that someone who constantly worries and thinks ahead needs at the end of the day.