I was dragged to my first yoga class. And by dragged, I mean literally. I shuffled my feet on the sidewalk on the way to the studio, but thankfully, my friend was stronger (willed) than I was and managed to push me in the door.
I generally do not like exercise. I do not enjoy most team sports and anything with a ball is really a disaster for me.
I am not a slim bodied person and I was nervous about being in a room full of svelte people twisted into pretzels. I didn’t really know anything about yoga. I didn’t understand the friendly, non-gym atmosphere – but, I liked it. This was not a competition, this was not a race, this was not just exercise. Here was a way to move my body that was loving and nurturing and not about competition, or winning, or doing something ‘right.’
As I bounced around the country in my 20’s, I started visiting different studios, I started reading about yoga. I went to Kripalu for the first time. As part of that journey of moving my body, I began to understand the rest of yoga. That Asana (the poses) are just a small part of the entire practice.
I am still developing my yoga practice and it is constantly changing. When I come to my mat, for the physical practice, sometimes it is to move in a way that feels good, sometimes it is to move in a way that is challenging, sometimes it is to be fully present in my body, in a way that is easier to find on my mat than during most of my daily routine.
The physical practice of yoga helped me find enjoyment in other exercise and some sports. Although I don’t think I will ever enjoy playing basketball or soccer, I have found some sports where I can enjoy moving my body and the intense focus that comes from doing something physical.
Like so many others, yoga has helped me make peace with my own body. My body is not something that I need to fight, or mold, or deprive, or beat. My body is a gift that deserves to be loved and nurtured. That doesn’t mean that I sit still and eat Twinkies. What it does mean is that I try to honor my body with my choices and actions.
At The Mothers’ Space, our classes are based on this principle of honoring our bodies (and also our minds). Many times that means honoring the amazing transitions that our bodies go through as mothers. Our movement classes are about finding a home in your own body, not “getting your body back.” You never lost your body. I never lost mine. It just took a good yoga class for me to understand how close I was to home, and how great it could feel to be there.