Friday, December 4, 2015

The Yoga Experiment Part II

You can read Part I here.

It took a while. Over a month, in fact. But I once I made it a priority, it was bound to happen. I finally went to my first hatha-vinyasa yoga class in months. Since I was signing in that class, and the one after it, I had to start fifteen minutes late, and sneak out five minutes early, but it was enough.

As I shifted between cat and cow, and luxuriated in a foot-peddling down dog, I was pleasantly surprised at how instantaneously my ujjayi breath switched on. My body remembered this. It remembered all of it: not a single transition felt rusty, and not only that, I found myself stronger and more limber, making deeper connections in binds, shifting more fluidly through chaturanga, and reaching for my deepest back bend in upward dog. This state of affairs I credit entirely to my continued aerial training. It does suggest that I wasn't crazy to think that yoga wasn't doing much for me from a strength/flexibility standpoint.

But it was doing something.

My brain felt different within minutes of joining class, and by the time I scurried out to sign in the next class, I was buzzing with that tranquil euphoria the insiders call, 'yoga brain.'

And even assuming that's all there was, that was enough. I made it back into the studio two days later for another class.

But that wasn't all there was.

Days later I strolled through Manhattan between my home base aerial studio and Trader Joe's, enraptured by the sound of my breath, the architectural trim, the people hovering on and off the curb while waiting for the light to change. It felt like meeting an old friend, this simple experience of being present to a walk through a familiar area of my home city. How in the world had I not missed this when it had faded? What an incredible gift!

They say there's no zeal like that of the convert, and maybe that's doubly true for the re-convert. Maybe that's why it's almost inevitable for us to drift from our yogic path from time to time, so that we can experience it all anew when we come back, and remember why we do this in the first place.

I still don't know how yoga does what it does. Maybe being such a kinesthetic person, the asana practice is just an easier gateway for me toward a meditative state than the seated practice. Maybe it has to do with how the asana practice tricks you into practicing pranayama for an hour or more straight. More experiments need to be done...mostly those involve taking more yoga classes...I'll see you on the mat.

Live Omily,
~em

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