I enjoy practicing yoga. I can still remember walking into the studio to sign up for my first class. After suffering a series of injuries I knew I needed to take better care of my body, so I decided to give it a try and purchased the new student special for $50. It was very different from all the other physical activities I had previously engaged in. There was no competition; there was no team, no opponent, no one watching. Yoga seemed like a game of Simon Says for adults. The only one paying attention to me was myself, and maybe the teacher. I actually enjoyed the non-competitive nature of yoga and the way my body felt during and after class.
I also enjoy the breathing and the stretching. I always understood that I needed to do a better job of stretching, but I wasn’t really taught how to stretch. Reaching down to touch your toes is actually more complicated than it seems and the teachers at Tranquil Space are extremely knowledgeable about proper stretching technique. I don’t think I’ll ever be particularly flexible, but at least when I stretch, I won’t be doing it incorrectly. The teachers also design the lessons to stretch the entire body. Every class is slightly different so you are never stuck doing the same series of stretches. Even the teachers can’t get into too much of a routine thanks to the constantly changing Pose of the Month.
Beyond stretching and strengthening my body, yoga helps me to deal with challenging situations of all types. During the first month I attended 39 classes, which is more than a class per day. I got into the habit of attending class regularly and therefore decided to become a member after the month elapsed. I’ve been a member for several years and have really noticed a difference in my mindset. Life’s problems are a little less daunting and I’m a little more relaxed in unfamiliar circumstances. Deep slow breathing is really effective at calming me down, and I’ve tried to make use of it whether at work, or riding on an airplane, or waiting for the metro.
I’m approaching my 800th class at Tranquil Space, but I still feel like a beginner. Every day and every class is different. Some days my body feels flexible, strong and my mind is focused, other days I’m missing some or all of those attributes. It doesn’t really matter as long as I keep breathing steadily, stay focused and don’t try to do something that might cause injury. I enjoy the positive energy I encounter at the studio and I try to carry it with me through the rest of the day. I spend a lot more time smiling these days than I ever did before I took my first class.