It was almost two weeks between my first yoga class and my second. The instructor took medical leave for a week, and I was crazy busy ending one career and beginning a new one. But I was really looking forward to going again; it was nothing like the dread I felt as I thought about attending a second spinning class years ago. No, yoga is definitely a different beast. I wanted to see what I could learn, how I could change, and who I could become. No pressure.
As we pulled into the gym parking lot, I thought we’d arrived in Tibet. Were those prayer flags waving in the wind?! Um, no, my daughter pointed out, handing me my glasses, those were the yoga mats hanging out to dry over the railing. Oh, yoga mats! Riiiiight. I was off to a stellar start for Class Number Two.
I managed to threaten/cajole/bribe my daughter into joining me since she’s leaving for college in a month and I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she abandons me (goes and does what she’s supposed to do). “Mom, I’m not a Yoga Person.” How can I argue with her? I don’t even know what a Yoga Person is! “Just do one class with me – then…” I left it open-ended, though I think she saw through it. Hers was an air of skepticism as we approached the gym.
Yoga Bob made room on the floor for my daughter to be next to me, saying it wouldn’t be cool for her to be behind everyone else. ‘Cause how would we know she wasn’t just sitting there laughing at us? She went and retrieved a prayer flag/yoga mat from the railing and got settled.
It was Ab Day. We did a lot of core balancing and strengthening poses and I tried really, really hard to last as long in a pose as I could, pushing myself to see just what my limits were (I have a tendency to want to give up more quickly than I really should). I shook a lot, lost my balance, but resumed the poses right away and kept on going. I stayed focused on what my body was achieving, where my mind was finding itself, and at the end of the class, I was content with where I was.
Maybe it wasn’t just bad eyesight that made me mistake yoga mats for prayer flags. There is or at least can be something prayerful about yoga. I have found in only two sessions that my mind doesn’t wander to my next writing assignment, or to what my daughter needs to pack for college, or back to an unnecessarily rude exchange with a customer service person. I stayed in the moment, mindful only of the immediate space in me, around me, and connecting me to those around me. Amen.