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Journaling the Journey #2 "Your First Class" - Sep 26, 2010 11:43:17 AM

Article 2  "

'Your First Class'  The real 'HOW TO', of yoga, is not about the physical postures.  The facts of yoga, come from the heart. Read along and learn from the experience of one yogi as she describes some of her most memorable moments along the path to find enlightenment.  Learn yoga starting from your soul.  Share the comedy and heartbreak, the aha moments and the troubling depths of awareness that can and most assuredly will occur as you delve into your own yoga practice.

 

We have all been through it. That first time you walk into a yoga class. You are just sure everyone else can stand on one leg and wrap the other one around their head while having perfectly normal conversations with each other. Worse yet, you feel that surely everyone will be watching YOU, as you stumble through. Well, we all have to begin somewhere and no matter how athletic or limber you 'aren't', it is new territory and the mask has to come off. I had played around with yoga at home watching a Raquel Welch video before my first public debut. Unbeknownst to me, the video was actually the Bikram 26 postures, so when I later wandered into my first hot yoga class, I was delighted to recognize the postures right off the bat and immediately felt superior in front of the friend I had drug along with me. At least I would not be the worst in the room. However, I had never kept the temperature in my home at 115 degrees, so I now found myself comparing our disadvantages. I had just traveled from sea level to the ski slopes in Colorado the day before and my friend was FROM Colorado. How was that going to play out? Would that even the score? Who would have the edge on whom? Class began, and wow, did I start sweating. I mean sweat poured off me and I had no towel except the one laying between me and my mat. And thirst?!!!!! First of all, I am a diabetic, and you do NOT want to mess with a diabetic at altitude for the first 48 hours. I won't go into the medical description of how the bloodstream has to find room for more oxygen but it can raise blood sugars quite a bit, causing thirst and peeing in an ongoing cycle that is an intrusion in ones social life to say the least. (Like try getting in and out of a ski jumpsuit every ski run for the first day on the slopes!) Anyway, we are now adding hot, I mean hhhhhhhhhot yoga to the situation and then, I dare to reach for my water bottle!!!!!!!!! Our instructor must have been a direct descendant of a WWII Gestapo. The attack was immediate. "You don't drink and you don't wipe down until I say so." Ohhhhhhh? Actually she did say "until the warm up series is over" but it all sounded the same to me at the time. I was shocked. I thought yoga was gentle stretching and stuff. Isn't it? I continued to drink and wipe down and it became perfectly clear that I wasn't going to stop and she wasn't going to kick any body out. Well, it was kind of surprising I ever came back to a practice of any kind after that, but, as is quite obvious, I did. And I came back and back and back. The point is, we all do start from somewhere and not just in the physical. We all start at a lesser knowledge base. The 'rules' of a certain kind of practice, the protocol of another, the reasons for why any of it. Some of it just is that way because it always has been. Yoga is something that has been passed down and survived years and years of time. We need to give ourselves a little bit of that time to learn and to understand how yoga has made it this far. So come without judgement or expectation, come open and ready to absorb and learn, and be ready to be embraced by a feeling that will keep you coming back like I did. Like many of you already have. Carry on the tradition not just through time, but help it to multiply and spread so together we help our world reach a peace like it has never known...Namaste

Journaling the Yoga Journey "What is it about Yoga?" - Sep 26, 2010 11:41:28 AM

What is it about yoga? It seems to be sweeping the country, if not the world at this point. It has been around for centuries and yet NOW seems to be part of a new awakening, or as the yogis might say, "a new awareness". At any rate it is finding it's way further west into our own back yards. Yoga studios are popping up everywhere with choices of Vinyasa or Hatha, hot or cold, and even new choices created for newly westernized classes such as Yinfusion or Detox Flow. Is it that we, as a nation, a country, a world, have come to such conflict that we are searching for some inner peace because we can't seem to manage it from the larger scale of a government or civil level? Or is it just the latest exercise craze that seems to come along in a different form every few years that is to be the miracle cure for all our bad habits? My answer is, "I don't know". I can't even tell you how or why I first stepped into yoga almost 20 years ago, except that I saw a Raquel Welch yoga video and as an exercise nut I thought I would give it a try. I know that it took another 10 years before the first yoga studio showed up in my area and quite a few more before a studio of real quality instruction came along. I know that I started with the sole concept of fitness in mind and in not having anyone to guide me for the first 10 years, I never really picked it up seriously. I continued with all my other exercise routines such as running, spinning, aerobics, weight lifting, you name it. And then in 2002, I walked into my first HOT Yoga Studio and I have never looked back. This is where the term, path or journey, which is used in the yoga language, comes so strongly into play for me. There is that place where you begin your yoga practice and a place in which you will be led. There are those places along the way in which you will recognize achievement in your postures, strength in your legs or in your mental focus, and there are those places, on or off your mat, where you will suddenly be aware of a new inner strength, an understanding of humankind, or a gentler, softer way of dealing with angst or unpleasantness. There are steps along the way in which you will become more aware of what you feel spiritually and emotionally, feelings that will bring you to ask questions about life, and more specifically, YOUR life. Hopefully, along the journey you will also meet yourself in a place that gives you the courage to break away from living life without contemplation and follow the course that brings you closer to your true self with the peace that comes from doing so. Again, I don't know the answer to the reason for yoga suddenly coming to life. But, I do know why it has become such a large factor in my own life. Physically, emotionally, in the very general sense and in the minute details of personal experience. I hope you will return to my articles and enjoy reading as I share many of those personal growing pains and enlightening joys that my yoga practice has helped me through. Maybe I can help you to understand your journey a little bit better. Have a nice trip.