Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Alas, I May Never Again Be A Yogini...Part I

 Yoga has been part of my life since my thirties when I decided to try a class at my neighborhood recreation center. Confronted with the limits of balance and coordination imposed by my developmental disability, the challenge became incremental.  After all, I could stand, walk, stretch and breathe, but how well and for how long could I hold a pose? Did I possess the focus needed for breath work and meditation? Was it even possible to hold both my body with its always too-tight muscles in a given position despite it always wanting to do the opposite, and manage breathing at the same time?

My first classes were led by a woman who spent most of her time re-arranging everyone's limbs. Though I sensed that she was a bit of a perfectionist, she was always polite and never openly disparaged my efforts. At the time, few books existed on library or bookstore shelves regarding yoga generally and none dealt with issues of disability, chronic pain or accessibility in relation to it. There was no Internet, and only a handful of videotapes. What did exist here was a small cadre of willing teachers. My first would say, "Do what is comfortable, the goal isn't pain. Breathe." Her classes always ended with a meditation and she would often use candle light at the front of the room as a focal point. No real information on meditation or yogic philosophy was provided and she emphasized strength and flexibility as a path to health. While I agree that both are a wonderful benefit of consistent practice, there is more to be had and learned. I was not surprised when she left yoga behind in order to teach fitness...

And sometimes, when someone leaves, space is created for another who comes bearing gifts, as I was to discover...


9 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

More please.
Many years ago I did a lot of yoga. For one reason and another I let it slide. I am now as supple as a brick and have been thinking (knowing) that I need to do something about it. Yoga was my first thought.

37paddington said...

Yoga is the only exercise I have ever enjoyed. Well, also swimming.

Ms. Moon said...

I believe that yoga is way more about the stretching of the soul than of the body.

Steve Reed said...

I tried yoga back in the early aughts, but it was not for me. I preferred my meditation independent of my fitness regime, and vice-versa!

The bike shed said...

I've only ever been to one yoga class, which was the other year. My wife goes regularly and absolutely loves it. But when I was joined her the instructor kept praising me and saying how good I was at the poses (I'm certain it was just because I was newbie and a man - it is nearly all women in the class) - anyhow my wife was so miffed she insisted I didn't return!!! Ha ha. Such is life...

Secret Agent Woman said...

I really want to like doing yoga - truly - but I never do. I'm glad you have had some good teachers in it.

HBF said...

I agree with EC, more please! I've had good experience and bad with yoga.... for some reason when I recovering from BB's birth and the PPD there was one instructor whose classes made me suicidal. That didn't last long!

karen said...

Yoga definitely has its benefits, at whatever level. Mine is the lowest skill level, done at home, but a regular tiny session every day keeps flexibility going!

Shaheen said...

I need to get into yoga, i try, go to a class or two but don't stick with it. i even have a mat, some yoga books, just need the motivation