Hello, My Friend,
In this post, I am going to share my recent experiences with YOGA! The truth is I was afraid of YOGA and I did not realize why. I just smiled when someone mentioned going to a class or participating. The Universe finds a way to help us heal and work with our fears; fears we recognize and those we don’t.
I now realize that I had a disconnect with YOGA! Some many years ago while on a journey seeking weight loss I visited a center for YOGA as a part of my program. I was so determined to avail myself of every aspect of the program. I was green/new to the form of YOGA. My experience that day and with that instructor did not go as I had expected. My instructor “assisted” me and I ended up twisted to the most excruciating pain imaginable. I thought at the moment on the floor in the beautiful studio that I was going to die! The truth of that one-time occurrence is that I was dehydrated, low on potassium, (hence the intense Charlie horse in my calf) and an aggressive instructor. This was not a winning combination for this experience that I thought was called YOGA. So, that experience was etched in my mind and I continued to associate pain with YOGA.
Fast forward several years and I began to open to the possibility that it was all that the YOGIS said it could be, beneficial for stress, mindfulness, connection, and breathing. I became open to trying it again and everyone encouraged me to seek the right instructor. I took other classes with new instructors and yes, the results were dramatically different. In our ReFRESH experiences from the first retreat at Calloway Gardens, instructor extraordinaire (Coach Trina Lewis) led a beautiful Yoga – body movement experience. In each of the retreats, we continue to include creative, soft and beautiful body movement experiences and yes Yoga is included. So, I softened in my thoughts about YOGA. I found that the instructor, the intention, the inspiration and the combined factors provided me with a roadmap to open the possibility of engaging. In addition, in our city and the surrounding area of Atlanta, more and more studios and forms of Yoga practice are growing. They have always been here, and it seems to me that more and more of these beautiful, gentle, kind and mystical places are flourishing and thriving in our community.
I looked at the list of what the possibilities are and it’s mind-blowing all the forms of practice and the possibilities of classes. Recently, I saw a segment on goat yoga, bring your dog to class yoga and one that I tried about a year ago candlelight yoga drop-in class. So, it sounded kind and doable, so I headed to the studio and found just what I had imagined a beautiful candlelit studio. The male instructor was very soft in his approach and the experience was awesome.
In February 2018, I attended a program at the Chopra Center (home of Deepak Chopra). The yoga class was offered each morning as part of the program. The center is in California where I believe everyone practices YOGA. (my belief). I set my intention before taking the class to be fully present for ALL that the class had to offer. The course was Love Beyond Limits and I surely wanted to avail myself of all the love the program was offering. So, on morning 1, I dressed and brought my yoga mat over to the meeting location. I was open and ready for my yoga experience. I will admit, I thought about all the experiences I mentioned above as I am walking to my class.
So, I arrived and found my space on the floor in a sea of people who appeared to be very experienced, loosening up and preparing for our class. I felt a little something and I spoke to myself and said, “it will be all right”. Class began and to my surprise, my instructor was dressed in a white head wrap. This looked like something I had seen before, but I was not certain at that moment. She took her place on the stage the room was packed and she said I have a most wonderful surprise for this class. She said, “I have been given the privilege of conducting a Kundalini yoga class today.” She shared this was a first time for this as part of a Chopra center class. Well, the little voice began to speak inside me and it said, “I thought it was going to be all right – now what?” I listened to the introduction and began to work with myself to calm my thoughts. Her voice was melodic, and she was easy and so graceful. She encouraged us all to do what our bodies would allow and to just listen to her voice and let our body flow with music and instruction. It was incredible, I did just as she instructed and was so into the music, movements, and breathing. She said we shallow breathe most of our days and here we were breathing from what felt like my Soul. The hour was emotional, doable and intensely satisfying. I made it, I did it a new yoga form Kundalini. I was just open and went with my body. It was beautiful.
So, day 2 I am excited to return to class and day 3 I am still excited and ready to do this work yet again. Well, this morning, I find my sacred spot on the floor in the sea of students and to my left, there is a place not yet occupied. It was open and available and guess who comes to that very spot – my Love Beyond Limits instructor Dr. Robert Holden. I was so nervous and excited. How crazy is this, my spiritual LOVE man is going to be doing yoga right next to me. I was grinning from ear to ear. He looks over and says to me” I was scared to come for this class when the team shared it would be Kundalini, I have never taken a class.” I shared I came a couple times now and I felt the same on the morning of the first class. I shared that I was not experienced in any form of yoga. He shared that he practices regularly in England yet had never taken this form. I felt so at ease knowing that someone else (Dr. Holden) had similar thoughts. Well, this morning our instructor announces we are going to begin a little differently. Today, he asked that we turn to our left and share with our partner “something you are grateful for”. Guess who my partner was – you got it, Dr. Holden. We shared what we were grateful for and my class was EPIC. I LOVED every moment of the experience. Being open and present to ALL that was available allowed this moment. Are YOU open and available to the moments in your life?
So, it’s early March 2018 and I have a professional industry conference. This is a professional hoteliers and meeting planning conference. One that I have attended previously so I know the agenda. Well NO I don’t. This year the agenda is different, we are packing bags of toiletries for girls who are caught in the sex traffic rings. I had never done that at this conference before, it was great to be of service. Secondly, each morning of the conference a YOGA class was added. It was very early, allowing enough time to return to your room to get dressed for the business of the day. I thought of every reason that I could not make it. I thought back to Chopra and got out of bed and headed down to the YOGA class. I guess in my industry others thought the same and therefore the class was very small and not many attended. But I showed up and my instructor was amazing. She was gentle, and she assisted gently with poses and she said this was our time and to do what our body would allow, and she was there to assist if needed. She gave us a signal to request her presence. She gifted us each a lavender filled eye mask for the meditation portion at the end; an unexpected gift. The meditation was so amazing, and my class set my days at the conference off to a beautiful start. The two most memorable pieces of this experience were #1 the view the New York city skyline out the gorgeous windows (flow to ceiling) and #2 she played Bill Withers – Lovely Day and it was a lovely day.
So, as you can see, I continue to try out YOGA! I have not left the possibility that someday I will find the right instructor in my city and the right practice for me to call my YOGA home. I have another place that has caught my attention locally and when my travels break, and I intend to visit this studio. I am hoping that perhaps it will be my new home for YOGA!
In the end, I hope you will avail yourself to the possibilities, be open and present for what the Universe can offer your life. What have you tried recently? Please post on the private ReFresh(ed) site or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will gather and share posts if not on Facebook.
Joy Expert – Helen Mitchell – ReFRESH
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