|Colden, demonstrating Pigeon pose.|
Thankfully, I've been going deeper into my yoga practice, and that's helping me become more mindful of each moment as I watch my breath and become aware of what's happening around me.
I went to my first Vinyasa class last Thursday night. Robin, the wonderful teacher from whom I'm learning so, so much, came up to me before we got started, and she told me just to take it at my own pace. It's a very physical class she said, with lots of movement. But she also said that she knows I'm comfortable with knowing where my edge is, and I'm not the kind of person who's going to push myself past my comfort zone and injure myself.
We spent part of the class practicing Yinyasa yoga. Where Vinyasa is sometimes known as "Power Yoga" with lots of movement, Yinyasa is where you get into a yoga pose and hold it, sometimes for as long as 5 or 10 minutes.
One of my classmates had requested Pigeon pose during that evening's class, and ever since I learned it a couple of months ago, I've had this love/hate thing going on with it.
To get into Pigeon, you start on hands and knees. You bring one leg up in front of the other knee and aim your foot out to the side, keeping that other leg stretched out behind you. You can either plant your palms and stretch up, or, as Colden is demonstrating in the photograph here, you can place your elbows down, bend forward, and rest your head on your clasped hands.
Well, that was the variation of Pigeon that I got into on Thursday evening. At first, my mind was telling me, "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this, I hate this." But, no, I told my mind that now was not the time. I acknowledged those thoughts, and then released them. I concentrated on my breath, breathing down through my hips and that outstretched leg......
It hit me sort of like a gentle thunderclap when I realized, to my surprise, that every single muscle in my body was relaxed. More than that, I became aware that I was in a deep, meditative state. My breath was flowing smoothly and deeply.
From somewhere deep in my belly, I felt a bit of that nagging queasiness that has plagued me so much during the last few months of anxiety. But in this state, with my head down, my eyes closed, my shoulders engaged and relaxed, I just let it come to the surface, thanked it for what it's taught me, and then released it. It felt like I breathed it in deep, and somehow, it was transformed by my heart and my breath, and then I let it back out into the world as something positive.
I finally had to get out of Pigeon when it was time to move on, and even though my hips were thanking me for finally releasing the pose, my mind wanted to stay there.
At the end of class, I felt energized. It was strange - I haven't felt that way in MONTHS. I felt like I could fly. I listened to Def Leppard the entire way home in the van, cranked up as loud as I thought I could stand it.
I felt like ME again.
Robin has told us that they are adding classes to the schedule in April, after spring break. I can hardly wait to see if I can fit a couple more into my schedule.
It feels to me like the yoga calms and centers me, while allowing me to burn off all this excess energy from my anxiety in a productive way. The Reiki healer I saw a couple of weeks ago suggested to me that when I started to feel anxious or nervous or queasy that I breathe those sensations into my heart, breathe them in deeply, and then allow my heart chakra to cleanse them and turn them into something else before I breathe them out as positive energy.
Yeah, it sounds crazy. But when I'm at yoga class, that's how it works.
So, now, there are two yoga classes tomorrow: a Vinyasa class in the morning and a gentle beginner in the afternoon.
Two classes in one day: can I do it? Is it crazy?