Some days my triumph is just getting to the parking lot of Humble Warrior Yoga. I can arrive for my class feeling tired, tense and physically off kilter, symptoms that might otherwise prevent me from pursuing any other workout and send me home to the fetal position on my couch, my face in a bag of chips.
Yet for the past two years something has been calling me here, something that tugs at a place in my core that longs for the quiet, the peace and the healing these yoga classes provide. It’s the welcome and the acceptance, the safety and the light. It’s the cool and the warmth, the grounding and the weightlessness, all things I haven’t experienced anywhere else except in my yoga community.
The heated silence on the other side of the glass studio door beckons me to uncurl my mat and my body, inviting me to ground myself into spiritual solace where my mind will empty completely. My ability to balance in stillness returns as my body warms and each knot unravels. My knees, hips and shoulders ease into alignment as my breath courses steadily through my being. And my spine begins to bend, to twist and flow like a strong and glossy ribbon wrapped around my glorious, shining soul.
Yes, yoga has transformed me physically. I no longer need acupuncture treatment or chiropractic care. I lost inches as my constant yoga practice tightened my sides and prevented the common development of the beloved menopausal muffin top. Someone recently told me I had the posture of a ballerina. (It was a good day.) Over the past two years, yoga poses like “revolving half moon” and “half pigeon” have become at least my allies if not my friends on the right day. When I sit in easy seated pose now, it actually is easy.
But spiritually is where yoga has been the home run for me. I can simply exist right there in my space, with no worry of judgement given or taken. Being present in the moment, with my eyes closed, focusing inward, I can set meaningful intentions on my mat that I carry with me out in to the world. Pranayama breathing has become my natural reaction to stress, my body automatically and slowly filling with air then emptying out in long even waves, pacing my heart and my mind so I can handle challenges as they come.
Yoga is the home I’ve been searching for since I lost my father. The language of yoga practice is one I’m familiar with, one that resembles much of the language of AA he raised me on. Having gratitude and focusing on inner peace. Minding my own business in the studio and out in my daily life, taking my own inventory. Letting go of what doesn’t serve me, taking what I like and leaving the rest behind. Mantras I was raised by, that have gotten me through life’s complications, that I hear my father’s voice repeat in my head.
My yoga practice, like life, is not the same every day. Some days are more balanced than others, some days flow smoother than others. But there’s always another day, and there’s always another yoga class, and I can’t wait to get there. Namaste.