Friday, May 27, 2016

First Yoga Class

Last Sunday, I woke feeling excited and a little nervous.  I had made an agreement with myself to go to a real live yoga class for the first time today.  I've been putting it off, mostly because it scares me little bit.  What if everyone is younger than me, or fitter than me, or slimmer than me?  Today's the day, I tell myself, no more excuses.

Truth to tell, I'm pretty excited about going.  I roll up my light green yoga mat and put it in it's little white bag, put on my loose-fitting pants, fill the water bottle.  And drive to the studio, which is in downtown Eugene.  As I pull up outside, I have a moment of angst, when I almost chicken out.  Everyone I see going in there is in fact, younger, fitter and slimmer than me!  I have to give myself a stern talking to; you've planned this, you are ready.  What finally pushes me out of the car is contemplating what it would feel like in the coming days, walking around knowing that I had let fear win.

So I go in, and introduce myself to the instructor.  He is a perfectly age-less man, taller than me, about six foot two, and very slim.  He tells me this is the right class for a beginner, and he invites me take a place anywhere in the large room.  But the studio is full of students already.  The only spot left is in the front row, right in front of the instructor's mat.  Oh well, I think, and walk courageously past row after row of yoga mats and spread out my own right in front of the instructor.

We begin.  And in no time, I'm moving through poses with the group and feeling a warmth and a welcoming that feels like a home long lost and re-discovered.  As I move with the group, I get to know my classmates, in a way.  To my left, a young man, very muscled, is always doing more than the instructor asks, and he seems very serious.  To my right, a woman about my age struggles a little. She seems very flexible, but her breathing is labored.  I think the class is challenging her.

Soon we are in savasana, and the instructor comes around and puts some oil on our foreheads.  We all sit up and he asks us to finish the class with some "Ohm-ing."  I did not expect the religious aspect of the class, the chanting and anointing with oil.  But it seems okay.  The Ohm chanting turns out to be especially powerful.  Done with fifty voices in unison, I can feel it vibrate in my chest and it is very soothing.

As I leave, I smile at a woman who is gathering her things.  She must be seventy years old, and she gives me a smile that is absolutely electric.  Outside, walking to the car, I feel like I'm two inches taller, and very confident.  My mind is clear as a bell.  And then it hits me; this is way I used to feel after a good climbing work out.

I'm going to come back next Sunday and take a harder class.

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