“Breathe deep and bring awareness to everything you do.”
Yoga comes in many different forms, and there are a million places to practice in Boulder. This past week a friend traveling though town sampled much of what the city can offer a yogi, and shared some stories of studios and practices with me. There really does appear to be something for everyone.
Lee practices yoga almost daily, and sometimes he’s in the studio for two or three hours at a time. I know he loves the health benefits, but I didn’t know the extent of the yogic practice in his life.
Yesterday Lee and I were talking. I was physically present but my thoughts were a million years away. I tried to be engaged but there were walls around my words, and even the smile never reached my eyes.
He noticed. And commented. And wouldn’t let me give him a bullshit answer about what was really going on with me.
“Take the practice of yoga off the mat into your daily life.”
Very gently he offered compassion and awareness to my suffering. He created space for my tears, and waited for them to run their course with no judgment on the length of time my crying took, or how soon I would be “fine” again.
He’s a strong man, and let his attention sit firmly on me until such time that I was back in my body and back in the present. He gave me time to lance a childhood wound, witness the drainage, and wait for the time-travel back to the moment.
He embodied patience and strength, and trusted that I would be back, that I would not journey so far or so wide that I would be inaccessible for the rest of the conversation. He didn’t give up on me. He waited.
And within the space of that compassion I was able to witness my pain, grieve, and walk back to the place where I am a competent, intelligent, alive woman that seeks connection and life-force.
“Open your heart to others so that you may feel more deeply.”
I love the physical benefits of yoga as much as the next athlete. Stretching sore muscles, breathing deeply, receiving permission from the instructor to actually relax and not beat myself into a pulp… those are all good things. But the best part of yoga is when the teacher creates a gentle place to practice and let go of the stress of the day. When a yoga practice or studio is a retreat, it doesn’t matter what we do for those 60 or 9 minutes on the mat. The connection to the practice, self and others is the real magic.
Lee and I had planned on doing one last yoga class together before he left town, but as our conversation shifted, we let go of the time frame and let ourselves be present in the moment. And that, I believe, is the most authentic “practice” we could have ever done together.