Thursday, May 22, 2008

Downward Dog Diary

Eventually the soreness in my muscles will subside.  I hope.  My yoga class is kicking my butt, and I couldn't be happier about it.  I'm amazed that I'm even attending these classes at my gym because I've been self-conscious about things like that for as long as I can remember.  I'm not the most graceful person on earth, and I worried too much that my clumsiness would bring the class to a halt while everyone laughed at me.  Because of that, for years I practiced yoga solo, watching TV programs and DVDs and reading about poses in books and magazines.  Although I impressed myself for trying this, I didn't know if I did the poses correctly.  Plus, when I encountered a pose I didn't particularly like, I simply didn't do it.  You can't escape that in a class.  Of course, if I'm unable to do the pose, I can go into child's pose (curl up into a ball) and re-join the class when ready, but I put more effort into it when other people are watching. 

The best thing about taking a class is that the instructor corrects everyone's alignment, ensuring the accuracy of the poses.  The slightest adjustment is insightful and deepens what I'm learning.  Another difference between yoga with a group versus yoga at home is that I've noticed the way I count is somewhat shorter than the instructor's.  He'll say, "Hold this pose for five breaths."  To me, five breaths is quick, but in yoga it's an eternity, especially when I'm twisted up like a pretzel.

I love sharing my practice in class and learning and growing and surprising myself with the things my body can do.  I'm still clumsy, but the class hasn't stopped because I fell over.  It's challenging and athletic with cleansing results.  But my muscles still ache.

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