For the past month, I have been participating in yoga classes.  My favorite is restorative, or Yin yoga.  If you haven’t tried it – please give yourself this amazing gift!

Classes have been 1-3X/week, and I am so excited to see the changes already.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started – but I knew that I wanted to try.  Barb – the water exercise instructor in Manistee – suggested that I try yoga for stretching.  She will never know quite how grateful I am for that suggestion.  Our instructor, Mia, is so encouraging.  She gives adaptations, and encourages us to use props as needed.  We also have a thought or meditation to reflect on during class.  (Just to reassure – we don’t contort into pretzels, or chant, or do headstands.  And, yes, I wondered about that before I went to class).

What I have learned – and this involves great amounts of grace – is respect for my body, and myself.  That hour of class is sacred time and my yoga mat is my sacred space, time and space I intentionally dedicate to caring for my body and mind.  I know that I am increasing my flexibility, strengthening my body, and working to improve and maintain balance.  More than that, I am learning to appreciate slow movement, holding a pose, paying attention to the rhythm of my breath, and listening to what my body is telling me.  I can see visible evidence of my work.

I just wrote about control and perfection.  Neither of those concepts have a home here.  Poses are imperfect, and always a work in progress.  Fighting a pose or trying to control the pose is painful.  Surrendering to the pose, breathing through and relaxing into it is really quite comfortable.  There is no trying to better than anyone else – it’s just being with yourself.

The room is without artificial light, and the drapes are closed on the outside windows.  Mia speaks quietly, and plays gentle music in the background.  No cellphones are on.  Everyone is in their own space.  There is a sense of timelessness and peace.  Class begins with settling in, and ends with savasana.  I always leave class with such an inner peace – and an eagerness to return to class for more.

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