How many times have you returned to something that makes you feel good and wondered why you left it or stopped doing it in the first place?
This seems to be a theme in my life – especially with yoga. On the one hand I chalk it up to my virgoian all-or-nothing personality, but it also makes me wonder if we aren’t just like flowers. We have times of winter and rest and times of spring and blooming. This is not a new metaphor to anyone and yet each time I return to my yoga mat, after not having been there it’s like a brand new revelation. I remember my body. I honor my body. I grieve for the truth that I have been ignoring my body. And I give thanks for being back – back to my body and back to the mat.
In the last three days I have been blessed to return to the mat and am grateful for the new and expanding presence of yoga on Cape Cod. Last night I began an Intro Series at Power Yoga of Cape Cod. I have always resisted Power Yoga in ignorance of what it truly is. This recent experience, has helped me realize that the name of the yoga class doesn’t matter to me anymore. All that matters is that I get back to the mat in a class that works for me in that moment. And like everything, what works in the moment is always changing. Just like us.
My first yoga class was in Northampton, MA in 1995 with Arden Pierce. The only reason I got to the yoga class was because I was living with Arden and there had always been this small voice in my head that said, hmmm, I should do yoga. I was blessed to be welcomed into this physical and mindful practice by someone with so much knowledge and compassion. That isn’t always the case. And as you journey out into the many yoga options we have today, remember to trust your own sense of what works for you. Arden has since expanded into yoga therapy and is still practicing in Northampton.
In 1997 I moved to New York and decided I had been “spoiled”. I couldn’t find a yoga class that didn’t make me tense. (the truth is I didn’t look that hard) And so believing that yoga was supposed to decrease my stress I stayed away – for about 10 years. Instead I found exercise at the YMCA and with trainers and running around Prospect Park – again not always staying consistent. Finally in January of 2007, I recomitted again to yoga and started practicing at a studio in Soho called Vira Yoga with a teacher named Julie Dohrman. Here I learned about anusara yoga which I experienced as a combination of “opening to grace” and demanding physical alignment. It was a perfect integration for me at the time.
After this powerful experience of Anusara, I again believed that this was the only yoga I would practice. Once again, I was “spoiled”. I left NYC in 2009, had a short stint on the Cape and then lived in the Middle East for a year and a half. In Cairo, there was very little yoga and it didn’t come close to what I was used to experiencing in NYC. In Beirut, there was a lot of yoga, but I was very attached to the way I was used to doing it, and so couldn’t get into a groove there. Of course, there was a lot about Beirut that didn’t groove with me. And that’s not all about Beirut.
My recent discovery of Jill Abraham and Power Yoga is what I need right now. Similiar to anusara, the practice can be demanding physically, but it still holds a space for grace – for internal and organic process.
Like anything we pursue in life, we are often given multiple times to grow and multiple teachers to learn from. Once we realize all teachers are only a reflection of our teacher within, we become much more open to the experience and trust the changes, not needing to hold on to our limited minds that tell us, “oh no I can’t do that kind of yoga” or “This is my favorite teacher and way to learn”. Sometimes just getting back on the mat is all we need to do to remember the power and importance of being in our bodies.
thank you to all my yoga teachers and yoga teachers all around the world. I promise myself to never stay away again for so long.
And if you live on Cape Cod, there are many many places to practice yoga.