Old-School Yoga

Posted on Posted in Dance, Yoga and Fitness

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This month marks the 14th anniversary of my first yoga class.  A couple of years after that first “Intro to Yoga” course in college, I found my niche in a vinyasa class in Ocean Beach, San Diego.  It taught me to breathe through stress, and that it was ok to be uncomfortable.

A couple of years after that, I moved to Missoula and met one of my best friends and favorite yoga and dance teachers, Gillian Kessler.  She opened up a whole new world to me, showing me how to integrate yoga into daily movement or intricate dance routines.

This weekend, Gillian told me: “Vinyasa is my home.”  I loved that image, as it meshes with how at peace her body is in her practice.

Tonight, I dedicated my practice to discovering which poses felt most like “home” to me in this new year.  I’ve come a long way in my yoga practice the past 14 years, and it’s been a curvy road rather than a straight line.  In fact, I’m finding that road has turned full circle — my favorite poses are the ones I first learned.

bri yoga down dogYeah, I can do complicated contortions, arm balances, and inversions.  And I’m proud that I’m finally strong enough to do headstands, crow or three-legged sun salutations.

But I don’t really want to do them right now.

Where I feel happiest today is in good ol’ warrior 2.  And downward dog. Maybe a little triangle thrown in for pizazz.

Why warrior 2, you ask?  Because my bones settle easily here with one knee bent and all my toes spread.  It feels natural and calming.  But it’s  also full of this quiet power, and energy waiting to pounce.

Plus, the pose echos my mental space right now.  My fingers are reaching in two opposite directions — for home and for the unknown.

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My feet are rooted in the earth, but my head is lifting toward the clouds.  My core is perfectly centered and still, but every appendage is actively reaching for a new direction.

My gaze is forward, looking for what tomorrow will bring, but I’m not quite ready to walk toward it yet.

One thing I know for certain: tomorrow will bring more yoga, even if warrior 2 is no longer where my bones settle best.  Tomorrow will frame different poses against new horizons, and those poses will reflect my changing thoughts and emotions as we sail away.

One thing I hope for: that practicing yoga will feel like coming home, even when I’m far from the familiar during our voyage into the unknown.

 

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