When I woke up this morning, I knew there was no way I would be running. My whole body hurt. Plus, I actually felt sick: my throat was sore, my skin hurt, and my head felt fuzzy. I really felt rather horrible.
And then I started thinking about my upcoming race and how I had to do something today to make up for not running. And I thought of my post yesterday about how I am pretty good at yoga, though I haven’t been in about a year. And then I thought about how last night, while I was at my reader’s club, some members had discussed going to a restorative yoga class at noon today. And then I thought…yes, restorative yoga, that’s just what my body needs.
So I went. I was so nervous. I am so out of shape and yoga is a really difficult workout. Fortunately, it was restorative yoga, which is mostly just slow stretches and is actually one of my favorite kinds of yoga because it really focuses my mind more than my body, and although my body could always use a good workout, my mind needs it more.
I know this because yoga, in the past, literally saved me. Saved me from depression. Saved me from a terrible marriage. Saved me from a lonely pregnancy. Just saved me. And I am forever thankful for that.
When I first married my ex, and was totally miserable and pregnant and depressed, I started going to yoga classes. I hadn’t taken a yoga class for years before, and I really don’t know what made me get up one day and think to take a yoga class at a newer studio in town. But I did.
I took pregnancy yoga and even just regular yoga, but what I really loved was the yin yoga class. Yin yoga is “a slow and quiet style of seated and floor poses that are held for long periods without muscular effort so the connective tissues of the body are exercised.” It is really slow and almost meditative and the teacher who taught it, also the owner of the studio, would quietly talk through almost the entire class,explaining why each pose was good and also giving just plain good spiritual advice. The first time I took this class I literally cried during the class. I just felt so emotionally spent, but at the same time, filled up with some sort of spiritual energy.
I went constantly. I took almost every yoga class I could work into my schedule, and I think I took almost all the yin yoga classes offered. As my divorce began, I felt supported by my body and mind, supported through my yoga practice. An my belly grew and my body felt uncomfortable, the yoga classes opened up my hips, my soul, and calmed my mind. Sure, I think some people were a bit surprised to see a really pregnant woman taking a hatha yoga class, but I didn’t care. As suggested by the teachers, I left my ego at the door. I concentrated all my energy on healing my body and my soul.
It sounds crazy, but it worked. Completely. I was in yoga the day I went into labor, and I swear it helped me have a really easy labor, relatively speaking. Luke was born on a Tuesday night, and I was back in yoga Sunday morning.
There is no amount of love or praise I can bestow on the yoga teachers that guided me through this tough time. Of course, I didn’t actually tell them anything that was going on in my life; everything was much too immediate and personal for me to share my feelings, hell for me to even understand my feelings. But for about 2 years, I lived and breathed my yoga practice, getting stronger and stronger in my body and healthier and healthier in my mind.
But then I started teaching full-time again, and alas, had no time left for my yoga practice. I didn’t think much of it actually. I mean, I know I missed yoga, I know my body was getting soft again, but I didn’t realize how much of my life was altered for the worse without this practice in my life.
Until today. I stepped back into that yoga room nervous and left fulfilled and feeling amazing. My body felt amazing the entire class as I stretched and guided my body to poses I haven’t done in so long. And the wonderful instructor reminding us gently to breathe (I wonder if I’ve even been cognizant of breathing this past year or so) and to relax our tongues. Tongues?!? Take a moment right now and feel how tense your tongue is. Now relax it. Amazing isn’t it? Even more amazing was how peaceful and calm my mind was when I left.
I am thankful for yoga today. I am thankful that my body hurt so bad this morning that I chose yoga instead of running. I am thankful that bought a 10 class card. I am thankful that I will use this card again tomorrow and again Sunday. I am thankful that yoga is back in my life.
I will not let this practice slip away again, no matter how busy I get (and this is when I actually need it the most). I honestly don’t think there is anything better I can do for my life–to be a better mother, a better instructor, and a better person in general.
I was so happy when I got home, I did some yoga with my kids. They loved it. I loved it.