Or, I have begun my practice
Last Saturday, I went with my girlfriend to my first Yoga class. It was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I am accustomed to a hard workout in a noisy overbright gym: 40 minutes of cardio, then another 30 or so with the weights. Hard work, burning muscles and a whole lot of sweat! I never did enjoy aerobics class, I prefer the solitary workout.
I must admit, I went into the class a little intimidated. I needn't have been. First of all, the environment itself is just soothing. Soft light, unobtrusive music, gentle voice of the instructor. Oh, and bare feet and candlelight! It is about flow, breathing, balance and a still mind. And I was able to do it! I made the poses, mostly, and held them. It isn't at all easy! My muscles, especially my quads, were screaming, sweat was pouring off of me. I did have a couple of sore muscles a day or two later, but not too many.
I love how yoga is considered a practice, an ongoing experience. Seems a very good metaphor for life. If we keep working at it, we will attain a deeper understanding of it. We will be better able to move from one pose to another, move through life with greater fluidity. We will learn from others the basics, we will learn for ourselves what is comfortable, we will come to understand how to live within ourselves, yet constantly reach deeper. While limbs are reaching outward, the mind focuses inward: Balance.
At the end of the session, the room dimly lit, we returned to our lotus position, held our hands together in prayer, lifted our hearts to our prayer. We were positioned around the room, backs to the wall. We were to bow, not only to the instructor, but the instructor in each one of our classmates for what they offer, and bow to the instructor within. That's what got me. We were to honor ourselves as we honor our instructor. May we always remember to continue the practice, and bow to the instructor within.