Sunday, August 21, 2011
Some of you may remember that my first (and until yesterday, last) experience with yoga was not the relaxing, restful encounter I'd hoped for. Yesterday, at the invitation of a friend, I took a restorative yoga class.
The room was dark and cool. The requisite Eastern music was playing. My friend Brenda helped me get a mat and the three dense pillows I would need for the class. I was all set.
Except that I didn't know I had to pay for the class at the front desk, which was all the way on the other side of the building. The class was getting ready to start, so I had to high-tail it down three corridors. I handed the attendant my $5 and she looked at me like I was nuts. The class was $12.
During the trek back to the yoga studio, I was muttering to myself that this class had better be worth it. I arrived back in the room feeling a little defensive and irritated. But I took my place on my mat and tried to allow my deep inhale and exhale push those feelings out of my mind.
Right away, I could tell this class would be different. First of all, each pose is held for 7 to 10 minutes, so that eliminated the anxiety I had in the other class about just figuring out a pose when the instructor moved on to something else. Because the poses were so lengthy, that meant that instructor wasn't chattering through the whole thing.
All the poses happened on the mat. The intention of the class is to encourage stillness, release muscle tension and counteract those bad-for-my-bod postures I spend much of the day in. None of the poses were confusing or hard to do. The most difficult part of the class was trying to keep my mind empty of thoughts about what I had to do later in the day and whether or not my belly was hanging out from under my t-shirt. I'm pretty sure I might have dozed for a minute or two here and there.
Truthfully, I can't tell you how long the class was. I think 60 minutes, but it felt longer. At the end of the class, I was a believer. I don't think I've been that relaxed since I was under the influence of nitrous oxide in the root canal that wasn't.
As I left the studio, I recognized what I was feeling. It's the way I feel after I've gotten a massage. Except, there was none of that deep muscle soreness. And there was no stranger putting her hands all over me. But the results were the same -- I felt taller, more fluid and amazingly rested.
Restorative yoga has restored my faith in yoga.