A Yoga Celebration!
I recently celebrated a very meaningful one year anniversary and even more special I get to share it with my mom. I’m talking about my yoga practice.
Yoga, like many things, is something I always wanted to do but for one reason or another didn’t get started until later in life. Despite the late start though I’ve embraced yoga in a way I never dreamed possible. I imagine in part it’s because I have such a lovely yoga teacher who initiated me into a practice with a considerable amount of responsibility and patience, so important because for those of you who don’t know me that well I had a major neck surgery a number of years ago and regaining my strength has been a challenge.
Natural Born Yoga Teacher
Joyce Kelly, my Kripalu-certified yoga teacher and dear new friend, is a woman MADE for teaching yoga or perhaps her own life-long study and practice of yoga has made her what she is today. She is one of the nicest, calmest and easiest people I know.
In the Beginning
We began our yoga practice working from a chair, a conservative approach we used to test the waters and see how our bodies and my neck would respond. In short order we graduated to the mat and never looked back.
Every class includes breath work, a meditative component, which you can do at the beginning or the end, the warm-up (Pratapana) and postures, poses (Asanas) or salutations and every class concludes with a relaxation pose (Corpse Pose or Savasana).
Practice not Perfection
I would imagine that everyone who practices yoga has their favorite elements, perhaps a pose or a breathing exercise. Frankly, I love it all! Though I confess the meditation is not so easy for me, I find my thoughts straying often and have to pull myself back to that quiet, ‘thought…less’ place. I’ve beat myself up in the past for not being a better meditator but it was Joyce, herself, who helped me feel better about this and focus on the practice, not the perfection aspect of this.
Yoga is all about the awareness and over time you do get better at knowing that you’ve started to think again and that you should gently take yourself back to that simply silent place. Forgive yourself and focus on your breathing, saying “I” on the inhale and “am” on the exhale. It also helps that Joyce has a sweet, melodical voice and guides us through a meditation at the end of every session.
What really brings me joy in yoga practice is what I consider the ‘work,’ the warm up and all the poses and postures we do. The salutations I especially love because I feel like it’s meditative without the effort of sitting quietly to meditate. You have no choice but to focus on your breathing because it powers you through the movements and that focus takes you someplace else, truly allows you to suspend your inner chatter and concentrate on the task at hand. The strength and flexibility you can attain over time is so rewarding and remarkable.
It’s no wonder that yoga has endured for so long, it tends to so many aspects of our well-being; physical, emotional and spiritual. Of course having an amazing teacher and guide helps too!
Love you Joyce and much gratitude – Namaste’