Yoga Week One: It Will Come

yo-ga noun /ˈyōgə/

A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation

rule

On Friday, I attended week one of a six-week Gentle Yoga class being offered at a local women’s center.

I was apprehensive — the morning had already proven itself to be daunting, and it wasn’t even 9:00! “Maybe yoga is exactly what you need,” a friend emailed in response to my reservations.

On the drive to class, I reminded myself:

this is your first attempt at yoga, you’re not supposed to know how to do it yet

you have six weeks to learn this, don’t be too hard on yourself

just breathe

I am too hard on myself. Ask anyone who has witnessed me in the throes of learning something new. There are moments I swear my head spins all the way around—my alter-ego at her worst!

So I’m practicing not. Not worrying. Not being too hard on myself. Not taking on or taking in things I cannot change. Actually, there are a lot of new things I am practicing lately, and they remind me a lot of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz:

Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.

Perhaps my friend is right — yoga is exactly what I need.

Our instructor has been teaching us about breathing—breathing in fully through the throat, rib cage, belly, pelvic bone. I get half way and wonder: breathe through my pelvic bone?

Breathe out, she tells us — exhale from the pelvic bone to the belly to the rib cage to the throat. I get half way again, thinking: I can’t even feel my pelvic bone.

We, this class of 15 fascinating women and I, do this several times.

B
r
e
a
t
h
e

I
n

B
r
e
a
t
h
e

O
u
t

I don’t know if I am doing it right: throat, rib cage, belly, pelvic bone.

I’m pretty sure I’m not.

I might not even be breathing at all, really.

The pelvic bone thing throws me.

But it’s OK.

this is your first attempt at yoga, you’re not supposed to know how to do it yet

you have six weeks to learn this, don’t be too hard on yourself

just breathe

The instructor asks “How does that feel, is everyone getting it?”

I make eye contact and let her know “kind of but not really.”

So, she teaches us again. Breathe in one two three four. Breathe out one two three four.

“How does that feel now?” she asks, looking at me.

“I’m still not sure I get it” I shrug.

“It’s OK, it will come,” she tells the class while her eyes reassure me.

“I know,” I nod. “I know.”

just breathe

• • •

Image courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Library. Ruth St. Denis in The Yogi. (1906-1907). Ruth St. Denis (January 20, 1879 – July 21, 1968) was an early modern dance pioneer.

SEE ALSO:
Yoga Week One: It Will Come
Yoga Week Two: When Yoga is Only Part of the Big Picture
Yoga Week Three: Applying Stillness
Yoga Week Four: Still There is Joy
Yoga Week Five: Loving Kindness
Yoga Week Six: In Your Bones

14 thoughts on “Yoga Week One: It Will Come

  1. Good for you Jen! A wonderful step to support a whole, healthy body temple! Breathing fills our body with much needed oxygen that fills our whole body and supports all of our systems. You will get it your way…..there are no rules….just relax and let it all go!

  2. Don’t take anything personally… and Don’t make assumptions… those are not easy ones, but then again being impeccable with my word(s) can be tough, too – i’d better start with “trying to do my best” and see if it helps with the other three… thanks and good luck

  3. I did yoga a few years ago and learning how to breathe was so hard for me. Slowing down had always been a problem for me so the thought of just sitting around and breathing was really difficult for me to grasp. But once I calmed down and let go, the breathing part came much easier. Have patience with the process and most of all with yourself. :-)

  4. I had to stop with some of the poses because of a bad hip, but I still do some of the breathing and meditation practices. It really helps me deal with stress and allows me to relax when I can’t sleep (some of those meditation practices are saviors for insomniac like me!). The philosophy behind yoga is really very beautiful and I still try to live and think along those lines. :-)

    1. I am excited about this journey for just that – the breathing and meditation practices. If it stretches out this getting-old body, great. But I agree, the beauty of the philosophy is what attracts me, too!

  5. great post and good points about not assuming that we should know everything….how often are we so hard on ourselves for not knowing stuff. thanks for pointing this out, i love the thought of yoga too and maybe if i would allow myself to go and just breathe….hmm…

    1. There was an amazing freedom in just being in the class without expecting myself to “get it” right away. I actually enjoyed myself. Make me wonder what other enjoyments I may have missed while I was busy making fun of myself!

      Check out yoga – see what you think!

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