My emotional rollercoaster yoga class

When you first start yoga you begin to pick up on many phases/tips that define the practice, guide you and help you truly experience what yoga is all about. Some, I am sure, you are familiar with – relax your body, slow your breathing down. When you are learning the postures you may not do these things but after a while they just happen. You don’t even need to think about it and it feels so natural. If you find your breath speed up, you gently slow it down. If you start to think about what you are going to eat after class, you gently guide your attention back to your breath without judging yourself.

I think it is great to have these pointers as second nature and to get the most out of your practice but it can mean we forget how important these things are and why we do them. Yoga is not just performing postures while breathing and relaxing. It is transforming our minds, how we react to situations, how we face challenges. I was well and truly reminded of this last night.

I started the class enthusiastic but as I was quite tired already, my mind soon liked forward to finishing class. The room was hot and I dreamed about having a cold glass of water. I couldn’t bind in some postures so I doubted my ability. My arms felt so tired I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage one more chaturanga. My mind was clearly all over the place but I was able (in some ways) to let those thoughts pass by). It was though when I noticed some of my breathing that things changed.

I was breathing slowly and noticing each breath but suddenly I realised that it wasn’t really very calm. Ujjayi breathing does mean there is a faint sound with each breath but I really worked on making each breath peaceful. WOW what a difference. I realised that even though I was letting my thoughts pass without reacting to them, I was still allowing them to imprint my mind in a way that wasn’t serving me. When I was tired instead of looking forward to finishing I enjoyed how I was giving my body energy through my movement. I was hot but I enjoyed the heat’s comfort. I still couldn’t bind in some postures but I enjoyed and trusted the process of getting further each practice and I let go of the need to achieve a certain result. My arms were still feeling it but I enjoyed how they were getting stronger and again I let go of the need to achieve and be able to perform chaturanga after chaturanga. I thought my arms were going to give up on me at one point but I attempted each chaturanga with my full effort, with my whole body supporting me and with a smile on my face.

So as you can see, my mind went through a lot during this one class but it taught me a lot. It reminded me of the true essence of yoga and even though my body and mind worked really hard, I left the class peaceful, relaxed and strong.

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