This is another repost – this time from a little past mid-2011. This is a post that is read fairly frequently, so I pulled it up to read it again myself. I am glad I did.
I am still a member of the Gentle Yoga class, in which I was so uncomfortable when I first began. Now, I feel I AM a member of this group, and miss it on occasion when I do not make the scheduled Monday or Friday class. Now, in 2012, I respond truly more gently to the flow of the Downfacing Dog, and the Warrior Poses, and the Triangles, and balancing poses. And my whole body “flows” much more openly as I leave class to travel into my day.
I have also lost some of the heaviness I described as having in 2011. During the past year, I found a comfortable, gentle way of eating and nutrition that allowed for the loss of 40 pounds — a new lightness I welcome into the new year. I see both the weight loss and the yoga accompanying me on new paths and continuing health and harmony.
I found Abby Lenz on the internet today at http://www.heavyweightyoga.com/2011/03/39-years-of-yoga/ . In talking about her beginning youth experience with yoga over thirty-nine years ago, immediately falling in love with it, and being able to do any pose imaginable, she says she is now….”older, heavier and much wiser.” She says and teaches what she knows being on the mat is all about in her Austin, Texas classes.
She says it is never about the poses, it is rather about where they lead you. She does not measures success by how triuphant you look and feel on the mat. Success, she says, is really about just showing up and doing your best for that day.
I, too, am older, heavier and somewhat wiser at the age of sixty-eight. Today, I did not show up on the mat at class. I wasn’t feeling triumphant about anything in particular and I put myself on yoga class vacation for this Friday.
I will start again on Monday, or most likely with some pauses for home poses, balance and breathing over the weekend to remind myself that my true self doesn’t really want or need a vacation from yoga.
I love that I have discovered some of the richness of yoga in my own life. I am in touch with the true energy within my body, how it can be stirred, awakened, unclogged, and make me feel as though I am “streaming” with my own body instead of pulling and pushing it around.
I love how I hear Petra’s voice in my daily life and how the flow of yoga, even off the mat, finds meaning in my day. When I began yoga, late in life (unless I live unusually long), I was concerned mostly about my physical “bigness” and remembered the Beatles’ early 1960s introduction of yoga and swami’s into Western culture. I surely thought it was a no-no for me, a cradle Catholic and Republican, trying to go Democrat.
When I started, I was uncomfortable standing in mountain pose for any length of time and thought surely this would be a short experience. I came to “land yoga” through my water class of fused Poolates-Yoga. I loved feeling the poses, supported by the water, and the instructor encouraged me to try the gentle yoga class at the health center. I am glad she did.
Over time, and with the effort to do the best I could (like the 4th Agreement of Ruiz I have been writing about), I came to feel a genuine part of the class, if a stumbling one at times. Sometimes my motivation to get through the poses and balance and stretches was that I knew Shivasana, the peaceful quiet, awaited me at the end of class. I could hold on.
I remember about breath being the most important thing. Even though I knew that to be true, I suspect that it is being on the yoga mat that brings it home to me when I need it in my daily experience.
Once I had to leave the class for a bathroom break. When I returned through the door in the front of the class, they were all in a Warrior II, opened toward me and gazing forward. I started to return to my place, but was actually stopped by the palatable positive energy flowing toward me from the group. It was an amazing and respectful feeling and I stood for awhile to soak it in and enjoy it before threading my way back to my mat.
My own self-described Energy Identity I’ve had for some time now is: Sue, Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver. My Life Statement is: “Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.”
I am gentle warrior, learning to forge my path and respect the paths of others. I do not know if there is a gentle warrior yoga pose.