For the first time in…how long would that be…forever? I felt like myself as I rolled up my mat after class. Despite the sweat, despite the stiffness that began creeping into my shoulders and lower back as I walked to the car, the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine released by the morning’s practice had swept me to a place of calm alertness.
While that morning’s hatha vinyasa practice had demanded a lot from me, it had given me a sense of well being that I hadn’t felt since before my passage through menopause. Coupled with pride in having accepted and met the challenge, I felt nearly invincible.
I had tried to keep up with classes via Facebook and videos posted by different teachers on YouTube, but it just wasn’t the same. The studio where I take classes did offer them through Zoom, but my technological ineptitude and concern for cybersecurity (one too many hacking incidents targeting Macs for my taste in the early days of the stay at home orders) overrode my desire and need to participate in classes, even remotely.
I struggled. I grew bored and stuck and dug the rut deep enough to feel the heat from the earth’s core, and then, finally, the vaccines came and the state opened up and we could get back to some semblance of normal. With a sigh of relief, I signed up for a workshop on opening one of the chakras, and I invested in a 10-pack of lessons.
Most of the classes I had taken fell on the side of more gentle, meditative styles, but I needed to do something more active. With a gulp, I signed up for the vinyasa class.
I silently gulped again as I looked around and saw a roomful of lithe students young enough to be my children. A couple of exceptions, another woman who was a little older than the average age of the other students, and a man a bit older than me who looked as if he’d been doing yoga the better part of his life.
Good teachers will help you succeed, whatever it takes. This teacher is excellent. Use blocks; modify; and if all else fails, go into child’s pose or downward dog until you can join the flow, she advised.
Begin with a little breathing, then off we went. The pace was gentled enough so everyone could keep up, but not allow enough to allow one to dwell on one’s chances of surviving the class. Stay in the moment, keep going, keep going, do some modifications and before I knew it, we took the last stretches and went into savasana, the relaxation pose that ends most practices. Even just a couple of minutes helps the body, mind, and spirit incorporate lessons learned in the practice.
My lessons included: 1. I had been grossly underestimating my physical abilities 2. I am not that old and 3. I need to set some new goals to push myself into the next phase.
And I’m doing it all again tomorrow.