Today I think I found my Yoga Home. The studio was huge, with gleaming hard wood floors, the walls, a soft blue and the large windows with curtains with a delicate vine design, allowing the sun to shine in. Brightly colored woven blankets were neatly piled along the wall, yoga blocks, both wooden and foam neatly stacked in rows, and several other items that I didn’t recognize where placed in large straw baskets. The back wall was covered with a huge piece of plywood covered with straps that looked like bungee cords. And although I have absolultely no idea what it was, it intreaged my interest.
I was the first one to arrive, (I am always early wherever I go), and the teacher, a gentle, thin man who appeared in his 50,s was immediately warm and welcoming. He invited me to follow him into the space where class was to be held and I noticed that he walked on the balls of his feet… on tip toes. I don’t know what significance this has, but it was one of the many things I noted in this first encounter. His mat was already set up in the front of the room. He invited me to place my mat wherever I chose, and he proceeded to light incense that was on a shelf behind him. The shelf also contained several bells of different sizes along with some metal bowls. Again, I have no idea what these are for, but for some reason I was pleased and comforted to see them there.
I had placed my mat and taken my seat, sitting crossed legged, hands upon resting on my knees, and was finding the rhythm of my breath. I felt calm and peaceful. The teacher brought me a blanket, 2 blocks and a strap. He placed them for me, the blanket at the bottom of my mat, and the blocks one on each side. This gesture was kind. He could have just told me to grab them for myself, but he didn’t. He brought them to me and set them where they should go. After thanking him for doing this, I began to inquire about the class. He was very friendly and gracious, not only answering my questions, but also asking me about my Yoga practice, and what I hoped to get from class. I told him that my heart was open to receive whatever the class had to offer. He smiled and said “very good answer”.
I was already taken by the beautiful space, and the energy I felt there, but his words of approval sealed the deal. My soul was happy.
Other students started coming into the studio. It was a small class, 4 including me, and it felt intimate and safe. Everyone was smiling and welcoming. The teacher knew each student by name and made it a point to use my name several times during class and instruction. It made me feel included, acknowledged and seen.
The class was an hour and 1/2 long, “Yoga for Everyone” and was a slowly paced focus on back to basics poses, the Sanskrit names for each, (another goal I have set for myself), proper alignments, and physical anatomy. We did seated poses, forward folds, a practice focused on using our toes and the balls of the feet, to press into the mat before we went into high lunge and downward dog, (now I know why the teacher walks on his tippy toes). We moved into some standing poses including high lunge, warrior one and warrior three (which I had mastered in my home practice but totally bombed. I couldn’t hold my balance for the life of me). But happily, I wasn’t embarrassed or frustrated.
This class was an absolutely delightful challenge for my muscles and my balance. I have read that Yoga teaches us things that we need to learn (beyond the physical stamina and poses) and that we can carry the lessons into the everyday moments of our lives. I whole heartedly believe this, and I know that this class had much to teach me. I am still processing that deeper part.
I signed up for a second class tomorrow morning, Vinyasa Flow, with a different teacher, and a class next week with a third teacher. I am really excited, over the moon, actually. If my experiences at this studio continue to be as wonderful as todays was, I will know that I have finally found my Yoga Home.