Beginner yoga

Yesterday, on day 10 of my challenge, I went to a beginner yoga class. I convinced my friend Suzanne to come to a yoga class with me last year, and she enjoyed it. Ever since then, we’ve been meaning to go to another class, but it just never happened. When I heard about this beginner class, I told Suzanne we just had to make it, because it was with Natalie. Natalie is definitely one of my favorite yoga teachers. She makes me feel good about myself, and about yoga. There’s no better person to start your yoga journey with.

I had such a great time. It’s pretty special to witness a room full of people experience yoga for the first time. It almost made me wish I was a beginner again! Discovering that your body can move in ways you didn’t think possible is great. It was also interesting for me to see how far I’ve come since I started practicing.

We did some cat/cow stretches, some breathing and even a modified sun salutation. There were a few tougher poses too, like warrior three.

At the end of class, the woman next to me was amazed at herself. She had never done yoga before and she said she felt so much more relaxed and aware of her body.

I tried to think back to my first yoga class. It was about 12 years ago. I chose the yoga option instead of gym in college, and I wasn’t very impressed. I liked it somewhat, but not enough to keep practicing once the semester was over. It was only 6 years ago that I went back to it and started practicing regularly. Now, I can’t imagine my life without yoga!

108 Sun Salutations

On my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, number 18 is to do 108 sun salutations. Today, I did it!

I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of the number 108 is. I’ve looked into it, but there are so many opinions, it’s hard to figure it out. I just knew it was a challenge I was up for.

Our instructor, Sheila, said we would divide the 108 salutations into sets of 27, with a 5 minute break in between. She had two bowls of beads in front of her and would transfer one at the begining of each salutation.

My first set was pretty good. I had lots of energy, but not much focus. My thoughts went something like this: Breathe in, breathe out. I can’t wait to see The Hunger Games tonight! Upward dog, dowward dog. Maybe I’ll get popcorn. Reach up, swan dive. Then Sheila said it was number 27, and we took a break.

During the second set, I was a little more focused. However, at one point, I became tired and thought for sure that she would say before the next sun salutation : This is number 54. She didn’t. There were at least 10 left! Well, I think there were 10, counting these out is hard.

The third set was the hardest for me. My shoulders were tired and my swan dives were shaky. Number 81 seemed pretty far away.

Just before the last set, one woman asked if we could dedicate our last 27 salutations to a girl named Ellen who is awaiting a double lung transplant and is deteriorating fast. I nearly lost it. I get emotionnal very easily, especially when I’m tired. My first 2 or 3 salutations were wobbly, then, I decided to give it everything I had left. I have two perfectly good lungs, there was no reason I couldn’t do this. Every breath felt like a gift and I realized how increadibly lucky I am.

Just before our last 5 sun salutations, the teacher put on some upbeat music. The main lyrics were “reach for the sun”. I found some energy I didn’t even know I had left and made those last 5 sun salutations the best of my practice.

I learned something about myself today. I am much stronger, mentally and physically, than I give myself credit for.  I also enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would.

At the end of all this wonderfulness came a 15 minute savasana. 15 minutes! Bliss.