Saturday, December 18, 2010

Life is Short, Do Yoga

I am in love with yoga.  Not just for physical reasons, or because it has changed my body in ways no exercise every has - but for spiritual reasons.  I am not a religious person - I believe in God, I try to pray every night and I believe that someone is watching over us - but yoga gives me an outlet to experience spirituality in our world.

(South shore Kauai, Hawaii June 09)

4 years ago, my good friend Ginni (one of the most amazing people I've ever met), introduced me to yoga.  She had the idea to teach it at our school to students; and I was there to learn, to help and mostly to crack jokes.  After she left, the next year, I continued to teach it at school and practice it on my own.  We started out with about 40 interested students (it dwindled to about 5) and now I have about 40 students show up every time we practice and 90 came out to the first session this year!  I want to share my practice with teenagers, and it is something I really enjoy doing at my school.  The kids seem to really enjoy it too.

(Ginni and me at our wedding April 09)

(Yoga at SMHS, November 2010)

Anyway, when I started practicing on my own, I tried many different yoga studios in the valley.  Then, I was referred by Peri (my step-mother's good friend) to A Desert Song.  She told me to take any class with Meg, Mary Beth or Heidi and that it would change my life.  She came with me a couple of times and then I just continued to go on my own.  And, she was right, it did change my life.

Yoga teaches me to be strong, to be confident, to be independent, to focus and to breathe.  It teaches me patience and faith in myself and others.  It teaches me to feed of others' energy and to offer my own energy to others.  It has changed my life in so many ways, I cannot list them all here.

In May, I decided to try hot yoga and then moved on to bikram.  After a couple of months at the Bikram Yoga Institute of Scottsdale, I went into anaphylactic shock (in October 2010 because of an allergy shot) and couldn't continue because my breathing had changed.  Bikram was amazing, I'm still not sure if I really ever liked it, but it changed my body in so many ways - my mind too.

(I don't have a lot of Bikram bod pics, but this is with my sisters-in-law in August 2010)

(And with my nephew, Reggie, in August 2010)

I decided when I got pregnant that I would continue to do yoga at A Desert Song.  I really like Meg's Tuesday night All Levels class (5:30) and Mary Beth's Thursday night All Levels class (5:30) and every chance I get I hope to go.  I also wanted to read about my own limitations, as a pregnant lady, and make my own adjustments during class so that my teachers don't have to take the time to do it for me.  I don't want to be in the way, I just want to do yoga.

I went to yoga the day after I found out I was pregnant.  Mary Beth was actually the first person, other than Ian, that I told because I thought she should know in case I wasn't doing everything I normally do.  I had a fun class and everything went well.

I also went last Tuesday and it was amazing.  I felt strong and powerful and loved it when Meg would come over and tell me little things that were good for me, during this time.  She remembered I was pregnant without me having to remind her, and I liked feeling special in class.  After Meg came over to tell me something, a woman next to me asked, "Are you pregnant?"  And I said, "yes" and then she said, "Congratulations."  It was the first time I had heard that and I liked it.  Immediately after, she looked at my belly, expecting to see something.  It's funny being pregnant and not looking pregnant, it makes you not feel pregnant even though you know you are.  Ian told me that he can't wait until it looks like there's an actual blueberry in there . . . and I can't either.

I went to yoga last night as well and it made me feel differently than I ever have.  Mary Beth was planning a holiday party, and it was raining, so she decided to combine the All Levels class with the Advanced class since there weren't a lot of people there.  I was a little nervous because I expected it to be relaxing and when I saw Mary Beth leave and Meg come in, I knew we were in for it.

Every pose we did, she offered tougher variations and I was the only one in class that didn't try them.  We also did some partner poses and I was the odd man out, so Meg had to be my partner.  One of the partner poses she told me I couldn't do (a modified cobra with your partners feet on your shoulders lifting you up), so I had to just sit there and watch.  Then, she came over and did a modified camel with me, using a belt, and I was the only one doing this weird pose with the teacher, I felt a bit embarrassed.

I guess I'm just used to feeling so strong and empowered at yoga, but last night I felt weak and silly.  I know that I can't do everything because I have a little blueberry to watch out for, but it will definitely take some getting used to.  I came home feeling sore and defeated.

With yoga, I know that it is a different experience every time.  Next time, I hope I have a friend with me so I'm not the odd man out.  I think if I would have had a partner, someone I knew, I would have felt better.  I look forward to different challenges in the future - I know that some will be fun and some not so fun - but they are all experiences none-the-less and that's the beauty of life.  :)


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