Get Off My Lawn

I can't tell if he's laughing or crying.

Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 2

Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 1

The day after I signed up, I attended my first class. I was nervous, but the atmosphere in the studio is so relaxed and calm I soon felt at ease. I bought a mat and rented a space to store the mat. So my new mat and I entered the practice space. It was dark outside and the studio was softly lit and smelled of incense. I felt a peace and calm wash over me as I sat and inhaled the incense and had this feeling of being in a church–like this was a holy space and it embodied a reverence that had me thinking really big thoughts, and really little thoughts, and then I was just present in that moment.

The class starts with setting an intention. You put your hands together and place them near your heart and think of a goal or focus for the next hour. It could be something specific I want to work on, like being a better listener or more open minded, or it could be sending out love to a person. And then everyone says OM and then we begin the class. Of course, I’m giving a simplified version, but I’m a rookie so I hope this will suffice for now.

I can sort of do this one.

I can sort of do this one.

What surprised me is the duality of yoga. I had never pushed myself so hard physically for such a sustained period, yet the gentleness of the transitions accompanied by the soothing voice of the instructor made it possible for me to maintain a challenging but consistent pace. I have never sweated so much ever in my entire life and I loved it. Even my kneecaps and ankles were sweating. My fingers were like prunes. It felt as though bad things were being leached from my skin. I was conscious of my body, and my mind felt uncluttered, clear, and focused; I was always aware of my breathing, inhaling, exhaling, to the rhythm of movements.  And though I was physically spent after the session, I felt refreshed and energetic.

I can't do this one.

I can’t do this one. Yet.

On a couple of occasions between classes I had these strange bouts of melancholy that were intense but short lived. At times it felt good to have this kind of sadness, or perhaps it was unrecognized peace of mind.

Though some of the postures were difficult or unattainable for me, devices like blocks and straps can aid in achieving the more difficult aspects. And the instructors are amazing. Sometimes there are two, one directing the class and the other floating about offering aid and correction to students. This is done in such a gentle and giving manner that I couldn’t stop saying thank you. I was so grateful to be helped in such an enlightened manner.

The guy on the right is Andrew. He teaches the noon class I go to and he is great.

The guy on the left is Andrew. He teaches the noon class I go to and he’s great.

Class ends with everyone closing their eyes and breathing for five to ten minutes, then chanting OM three times; the acoustics in the room are such that the chant sends chills up my spine. I leave with a feeling of contentment that lasts long into the day, and with each session the feeling of contentment is edging closer to a state of bliss.

I’ll finish up with part three tomorrow.

Categories: Personal

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20 replies

  1. You inspired me yesterday, John, and I went to a yoga class today!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow, you are far more zen than me. You’ve achieved in one class what I’ve never achieved in 15 years of doing yoga: living in the now. I’m always thinking about what I have to do for the day, eager to finish up the workout. I can do some difficult poses, and I most love power yoga because it manages to get my heart rate up and work my muscles. But even when I do a more relaxing yoga practice, I still struggle to get in the ‘now.’ Well done, you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Congrats! I think having a good teacher is key to enjoying yoga!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve described perfectly why I like yoga. The combination of a really good workout, but such low stress and then the quality of the mental piece of it. Like you, I experience such a peaceful feeling from the moment I walk in until well after the class is over. Must stop talking about getting back to it and just do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This and your first post really want me to start yoga, which everyone is encouraging me to do. Until the end where you talk about closing your eyes and just breathing for 5-10 minutes. Without talking? I’m not being facetious but I can’t ever imagine being able to do that.
    I really admire you. And you express your ideas wonderfully here. I seriously want to know how hard it was to not talk.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It is so interesting to read about your yoga experience. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey, this is fantastic. I can’t believe you went for it. I’m now motivated to get back to my yoga dvd. Yes, many trainers, athletes, fighters – even Sting the performer (and he looks RAD) – derive great benefit from yoga. I love that it was something foreign to you and you opened yourself to it. And that is cool, the waves of melancholy. Definitely there is a lot there to the effect on our whole body, including the physical and unseen heart. Thumbs up!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Belle Papillon 24/7 and commented:
    This part II post makes me want to go back to practice yoga at a studio. I have been doing it on my own at home… just the basics (sun salutation and other basic asanas) but John clearly points out what we tend to miss without a great yoga instructor.

    I am seriously contemplating on doing it this coming year. In fact, one of my bucket list items is to be a yoga practitioner/trainer and live in an ashram for a few weeks. I am really feeling it… this post is the bomb… can’t wait to reblog part III tomorrow.

    ❤ BP

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 3 | Get Off My Lawn
  2. Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 2 – Belle Papillon 24/7

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