Somehow I just couldn't find the time to get there with soccer and teaching and Allan's schedule.
But soccer is over and my nights have freed up somewhat and I have been going to yoga.
I go to two classes of Restorative Yoga - both start at 7:15pm and are gentle and lovely, dimmed lights, blankets, music, good, long stretches, lots of deep, slow breathing....
Which is where is all kind of falls apart for me.
And also why I need to go so badly.
It is no revelation to anyone that I have a very busy mind.
So while I can sink into the various poses, stretch my very tight muscles, feel the tension and knots unwind... I cannot, for any length of time (say a minute or so) keep my mind from wandering.
One of the instructors is so good at the guided meditation and I try SO HARD to stay with her. This week we were to focus on a tree, a beautiful tree.....well... just deciding on which tree took me a few minutes... leaves or no leaves?, on a hill or on the river bank?, tall or short?, symmetrical......OK OK.... I finally had a tree I could live with.
We were to breath in deeply - the tree was giving us fresh clean beautiful air and then as we exhaled we filled the tree up with breath.... lovely..... except my tree suddenly seemed inflatable and every time I breathed in its air it collapsed.... and when I breathed out it reinflated.... it was both funny and a bit alarming...Then I got competitive with the tree - I breathed out every last drop of air in my lungs to make it big and beautiful and vibrant but then I didn't let it give me too much air - I didn't want to be over-inflated - I wanted to give it more.....until I realised I was in a breath deficit and feeling a bit woozy (I also remembered that trees and humans are not inflatable - DUH). All the time I am having 50 thoughts a minute about the tree, my own state of mind, the papers I have to mark, the emails I need to send, the things on my to do list, the fact I realise I have odd socks on, the lady with the heavy breathing across the room, kicking myself for eating chickpea salad for lunch... I find myself silently chanting "tree, tree tree" just to keep my mind on the tree.
Despite my best efforts and the reminders from the Yogi to keep paying attention to the tree I am distracted, to say the least.
But the harder I try, the more I sink into the rhythm of my breathing, the more fleeting moments I do actually manage to stop my mind... And I feel very free in that moment. To be free of my anxious internal dialogue for even a few moments is restful and unusual and something I want more of. Which will clearly take
I have taken a couple other classes and some are truly hard - a very challenging work out and a sad reminder of how inflexible I am physically. It's a caring and lovely community of folks, embracing of all sizes and shapes and ages. I still feel a bit awkward not knowing all the lingo and the poses and the protocols but I'm getting it slowly.
I still live for the final relaxation part of every class when stretched muscles relax and my mind is finally slowing down and the full belly, lung breathing has enlivened all my cells....the quiet (save for the gentle snores of some) moment when all I have to be do is be.
And then a gentle return to the world.
I don't know how long my yoga journey will be but I am trusting it is what I need for now - physically and mentally and even spiritually as I use the time and space to breathe prayers for myself and others.
I'm actually looking forward to seeing my tree again on Wednesday.