Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ten Years of Yoga

I just bounced home from an intense yoga class at my place of bliss, Franklin Street.  The Wednesday night class is "rock your asana", and tonight the playlist was built on songs from the 90's.  Even as I sweated my entire body weight out on the mat, I was bouncing on my toes, humming along.

Somewhere between the first chataranga and shavasana, I realized that I've been practicing yoga with varying degrees of commitment for over ten years.

 I took my first yoga class with my mom at the local YMCA.  We met Tuesday nights during the fall of 2001.  I remember going to yoga after the towers fell, and I remember teaching my best friends a few poses in the halls at school before class.  We were seniors, and finally felt cool enough to do corpse pose in the middle of the hallway, forcing the underclassmen to scoot around us in confusion.

I didn't really practice in college (I was too busy experimenting with belly dance instead), but when I got my first teaching job, I found a class at the wellness center.  It wasn't enchanting, so I ordered YogaZone DVDs and stayed home.

It wasn't until we moved to North Carolina in 2008 that I first attended a class at a studio.  It was Franklin Street.  While I've tried other spaces in the Triangle, this is the one I keep coming home to.  I've even done yoga on the ball field last summer at the Summer Solstice!

For the past year, I've gotten much more committed, and I try to attend at least one class in the studio a week.  I can't guarentee that I'll practice at home, but once a week I lose myself in sweat and the sound of Om.  The teacher said tonight that that's the sound of the universe, and I think that perfectly sums up what I've always felt.

What does this have to do with my writing practice?  Yoga, like writing, is sanity for me.  Whenever I get cranky, it's usually because I've ignored one or both of these vital practices.  Sweating on the mat, spitting words onto the page, both places allow me to lose my ego and exist on a broad level, without clear defining lines.  Fantasy worlds aren't that different from a packed yoga studio, at least for me.

I bring this up because it's a lesson I keep relearning.  When I work my body and stretch my mind, I am content, happy, even effervescent.  But whenever I ignore either aspect of myself, I start to fly a little off-kilter.  And then there's the whole spiritual aspect: writing and yoga are two very different but very necessary forms of meditation for me.  I lose myself: the hard lines disapear, and I drift to an awareness of universiality or theme.

My theme for tonight?  All is love.

So the next time I am snarky or glum, there are two quick fixes: writing and yoga.  What heals you?


  1. My friend says the same thing about yoga—and it helps her get through long days with her kids. :)

    Writing heals me, definitely, and so does reading. Sometimes I need the escape they each provide.

    1. Dana, reading is another great one! It's important to have an escape every once and awhile.

  2. Love this. Keeping your balance with physical and mental fitness. :)

    1. Thanks, V! It can be challenging, but I keep coming back to the mat.