I unrolled my mat for the first time in 9 months. I opened up a youtube video I bookmarked last night and attempted to practice yoga. Attempted is a good word.
The last time I was in a yoga class was October. I quit because I couldn’t afford it, being jobless and trying to hang onto my money for my trip to Saigon. I missed the routine of going to class, it gave me something I could depend upon and to look forward. The classes were good for me, physically and emotionally. I could feel the difference and I didn’t like it. I told myself soon as I could afford it I would go back, figuring it would be another month or two. I didn’t think it would almost be a year.
So I followed 2 Jessamyn Stanley videos that were about 20 minutes long, figuring I could do this. I watched them, saw how she effortlessly flowed from pose to pose and spoke encouragement along the way. This will be easy, I said to myself.
It was not. The flow, going from cobra to plank to downward dog was hard. My practice is sad, slow and not pretty. I can’t go from chaturanaga to downward dog like I used to do. I can’t jump forward or back, but I couldn’t jump forward before so that was no surprise. Stuff I could do before takes a lot more effort and though it feels good to stretch I am not as flexible as before. It’s like my body is letting me know it’s mad at me for neglecting my practice.
Another difference is I had an audience. I was surrounded by other people in class and comfortable with it, as we all were stretching, moving and sweating with a similar purpose. Tonight I had a confused but concerned looking dog and a mat hogging cat with me. Porkchop, my cat, sat on the edge of the mat and did not move, which made some of my poses even more awkward. Olive eventually lost interest and fell asleep on the couch.
I do feel better, the breathing is a bigger deal than I remembered. Clearing my mind, only thinking of the present and what I’m doing or trying to do on my mat is as difficult as the physical side, maybe more. The physical side kicked my butt. Jessamyn is a body positive, all over positive teacher but she doesn’t make it easy or pull back just because we’re at a beginner level. People who do not know her and see her may think her classes wouldn’t be hard because she’s a large woman. Those people would be wrong. Anyone who has seen her move knows she’s the real deal, not some feel-good speaker who does a few little stretches and calls it good. I would love to take a class with her. I miss going to classes and may go back, once I get used to unrolling my mat and can feel comfortable using my body. I don’t want to shame myself out by doing a bad downward dog