I’m already trying to “level up” my renewed yoga practice: not only did I follow through on my intention to attend class last night, I also went straight from work to attend a 6 PM beginner’s class tonight.
Now, in a perfect world, I’d up my class frequency while still having some recovery time between sessions. But these are the two nights that beginner classes are scheduled on, so this is the structure I need to work within–at least until I build enough skill/stamina to take on additional class types.
So here we are. After two classes in a row, I expect to sleep well tonight. I also half-expect to be sore tomorrow. And, in the interest of continuing to reflect on and honor my journey getting back to the mat, I’m going to share some of the impressions and observations that have come to me during this week’s classes.
These are going to be a bit more scattershot than organized, which, if nothing else, is a pretty good reflection of how I keep slipping in and out of the practice: grounded and focused one second, having one of these random thoughts rocketing through my brain-scape the next.
I feel as if I’m the only one in class having to struggle with my body’s desire to pass gas in certain poses. (Sorry for the TMI: if this is too much for you, just skip on down to the next paragraph.) Intellectually, I’m not surprised at this phenomenon: after all, there’s even a specific yoga pose (Pavanamuktasana) for this precise purpose. Still, in an environment when I’m already feeling out-of-place and vulnerable, listening to my body’s little toots when I do knees-to-chest pose is not helping. My only hope is that the music has been loud enough to conceal said tootaliciousness from my classmates.
Speaking of classmates, I am still way too caught up in the comparison traps around this all. I’ve taken incredible comfort in the diversity of body types and ages I’ve seen—for the most part—in these few classes. However, there was someone in last night’s class: tall, blonde, in-shape and in-her-prime, whose presence completely triggered me into having a quiet underlying current of insecurity and intimidation for the whole damn class. Now let me be really clear on this point: the woman herself was an impeccably well-behaved and respectful classmate. This is all about my own internal assumptions and judgements, which, I’m embarrassed to say, all came screaming to the fore as soon as I saw this poor woman and physically “typed” her.
You know how child’s pose is supposed to be like super-easy? The pose you fall into for a rest when the rest of the sequence is getting to be too much for you? Well, I am finding that to be one of the more challenging poses. My hips are tight, my belly gets in the way, my boobs get in the way, and I just have not figured out how to make it work so my forehead is resting on the ground like it should be.(1)
I appreciate the accepting tone both teachers I’ve had used to encourage us to stay within our own capacities, and the way they’ve been completely chill around the possibility that any of us might need props, bolsters, or other items to help us do the poses. I have, however, been a little disappointed by the lack of specific suggestions on how folks might choose to use props in different poses. I get why you don’t want to single out a particular student who’s struggling and tell them what to do. But I could imagine having as part of your ongoing direction something like: “Reach back and put your right hand on your shin, or, if it’s more comfortable for you, set a block by your leg and rest your hand there.”
I’m beginning to have microsecond-long fantasies of getting certified to teach yoga and becoming a local expert in plus size yoga.
Speaking of plus size yoga, I am so inspired by the Fat Yoga photostream. It doesn’t look like there’s been any updates since 2013, so I don’t know if this Portland, OR community still exists. If I ever get the chance to travel out there, I will be looking them up in hopes of making a pilgrimage. In the meantime, I will likely poach(2) every available photo they’ve got for all my yoga posts. There’s one student in particular—she’s the one wearing that super-cool skeleton/rib cage tank top—that is quickly becoming my yoga muse. Seriously: I want to be even just a quarter as good as she is when I grow up.
(1) The bifocals don’t help with that, either. Not ‘cos they’re bifocals: just ‘cos they’re glasses.
(2) With appropriate credit.