When I retired, I beat an immediate path to the YMCA.
At the Y, I was dazzled by the array of things to do. Water classes, aerobic exercise, a walking track, lots of equipment and exercise machines to learn.
And yoga, of course. Yoga, that I was never going to try again. Because I wasn’t flexible. And didn’t enjoy it. And wasn’t good at it. So, I tried lots of things, but not yoga.
For a few weeks I was obsessed by machines that worked every area of the body and counted repetitions. I challenged myself to perform more reps each week. I could link my workouts to an online program that showed my progress and measure myself against the progress of other users as well. I loved the competition of those workouts.
The Y then discontinued that particular equipment and somehow I never quite enjoyed the replacement equipment as much. The new machines had no online component. I used them, but the feelings of competition and challenge were gone.
Around this time, to my surprise, I began to feel the pull of the yoga studio. I saw people of all ages, but mostly younger than me, carrying mats, and would glimpse them stretched out in the semi darkness of the yoga studio.
I decided to drop in for a class. The instructor, recognizing that I was new, approached me and urged me to take it easy and not overstretch when attempting poses.
Beginning the class, she discussed the importance of breathing, and led us in several different breathing techniques. We started moving into slow, simple poses that were accessible and gentle, then gradually moved on to poses that were more challenging.
The instructor talked about body alignment, and about each of us working within our own level of comfort and ability. She stressed that yoga was non-competitive, and that we could each focus on our own practice. I couldn't perform all of the poses, but she gave options to modify the poses and I felt I was accomplishing what I could.
With the class nearing conclusion, we spent a few minutes stretched out in a comfortable pose known as Savasana, or Corpse pose. I felt relaxed and almost as if I was floating slightly above the yoga mat.
So this was what yoga was supposed to feel like!
I became a regular at this class. I adored the instructor, whom I trusted to safely guide me in this new practice. And, that's when I fell in love with yoga, not yet realizing that in less than a year I would be teaching my own yoga classes.