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April 16, 2010

Getting My Yoga On

Camel pose Once a month I trek into the city to spend the weekend expanding my consciousness, learning about the the physiologically benefits of yoga and how to teach it to others and torturing my poor aging body with practices that regularly approached the 2.5 hour mark.


Excellent question and I really don't know the answer. 

I resisted yoga all through my thirties. I was a runner, a kick-boxer and a weight-lifter. Yoga seemed light-weight, the dominion of vegetarians and navel-gazing mediation types, but I turned to yoga in my forties when my knees betrayed me and my shoulders and neck couldn't bear the weight of daily stress anymore. And I discovered that I was oh, so wrong about the "light-weight" and that vegetarianism and mediation are hallmarks of a hardy folk more than worthy of emulation.
After only two years of practice, I began to explore the notion of teaching yoga. I was a high school teacher before emigrating to Canada and I miss teaching - though I don't miss teenagers much. My husband, Rob, encouraged me and my instructor, Jade, thought I was ready to take that step and so, this last January, I did.
I signed up for the training offered through YogaWorks and began my monthly commute.

The first weekend, I was sure I'd made a mistake. Other students were already teaching and could hover in a push-up mere inches above the floor. Even those young enough to be my daughters had years of experience on me. I gritted my way through the asana practices, tried not to look up much during the discussions lest anyone catch my deer in the headlight eyes, and generally felt in over my head  in a standing on the ocean floor kind of way.

But I went back the next month, and now with just three more weekends to go, I think I might actually be a yoga teacher. After all, I can hover - for a few seconds - over the floor in a push-up pose and I can build a practice incorporating the component parts (those areas of the body that  need to be warmed and stretched) for a class's peak pose or theme. I even know most of the Sanskrit names for poses, and occasionally, I dream in yoga-speak.

Mostly though, I feel at home.

Home is the feeling that infuses you when you know you are where you belong. I got that feeling the first time I stepped into a middle school classroom as a college practicum student twenty some years ago. I felt it again when I met my first husband and again with my husband Rob. Home permeates Canada in the same way it does my hometown in Iowa. Home is the keyboard I type this on, and now it's a yoga mat too and the way the Sun Salutation never fails to warm and energize me.

Original post to 50-Something Moms Blog.

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