The Forgiving Nature of Yoga

Blame it on the holidays, stress or just plain lack of energy but it seems that when time limits are stretched and the world picks up speed the first thing I give up is my yoga class.  I don’t like it and I suffer the consequences of an irritable bowel, an irritable mind, lack of energy and lack of calm.  It seems that during my regularly scheduled class I have continuously found myself at Wal-Mart, a basketball game, a school celebration or at the doctor’s office with a sick child.

When finally I said that I had had enough and must go back to a class to save my sanity and my body from the aches and pains that were slowly creeping back to my body like kudzu, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It had been several weeks, okay… over a month since I had last been to class and I was desperately hoping that my body would just bounce right back into yoga like I hadn’t missed a beat.  I certainly wished that my time away hadn’t undone all the progress I had been making over the past year.  I would soon find out!

Unfortunately, it seemed that my major muscle groups were spending their time regressing while I was away.  My flexibility had suffered by at least 30% and I had a difficult time concentrating on simple things like the yogic breath.  It was increasingly frustrating and although I was determined to make it through class I was upset with myself for letting yoga go.  I forged ahead and pushed a little harder than I had in a few months intent to regain my stamina and strength.  I even went the extra mile and tried the more complicated moves usually saved for the novice.  It was either pure determination or stupidity.

On my way home I could already feel the tingles of my muscles screaming at me.  My arms felt wobbly on the steering wheel and my back was dying to just lie in bed.  After a hot shower and a good meal I have to admit that I did feel 100% better than I had in weeks.  It seemed that the yoga was just what the doctor ordered and as my body recovered from class and my muscles stretched away from their tension the feelings of well being were returning.  I was beginning to feel strong again – inside and out.  I woke up the next morning feeling calm with not one sore muscle to call my own.  There was no need for Advil, no aches or pains that had proven I over exerted myself and definitely I felt like the anxious tension was released into the thin air of the studio.  I must have left it there because my clarity was returning.

For years I taught step aerobics.  After just one week of missed classes it was always like starting over again.  I would pant and ache, take Tylenol before class even started and leave with sore feet and chest pains from working so hard.  It was different with yoga.  It seemed to me that yoga was forgiving me for my absence and although my condition had definitely deteriorated yoga was going to allow me to recoup and regenerate my abilities slowly, easily and deeply.  My insight told me that this was just yet another truth that sets yogic exercise apart from all others. I suppose that when something is designed so perfectly with the anatomy of the human body it has no choice but to be a cohesive partner in the bodies functioning.

I have returned to my schedule and would have to say that within just a few classes all was well again.  Yoga has proved to be a forgiving sport, exercise and friend that is easy to get back to when our time is right.

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