Until recently I’d refused going anywhere near this thing called yoga. Long before Lululemon® and Bikram® fed my negative attitude, a deep-seated sense of physical ungainliness (“an actual or perceived state of lacking grace or ease of movement or form”) kept me away.
A series of injuries — replete with soft-tissue damage, broken bones, and neuropathic pain — eventually led me to what’s known as restorative and mindful yoga. Here the focus is on restful, mostly passive and long-held postures meant to assist the body’s renewal and healing by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, thus lowering heart rate and blood pressure and stimulating immune and endocrine systems.
In last night’s class, my fifth, I came to a satisfying place. Lying on the (borrowed) mat, listening to the instructor’s guidance on holding poses gently and letting long breaths flow through my body as if “through a flute — entering at one end and exiting along various points,” took me to a deep sensation of rest. I may have drifted in and out of consciousness, mistaken the left foot for the right, but none of that concerned me. All of me was at ease.
As May Sarton writes, “the most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatsoever.”
source: Salwak, D. (1995). (ed.). The wonders of solitude. New American Library, p. 41. image: source unknown — could be me in another life.