Where Soul Meets Body
White Lotus Yoga is owned by a local woman who knows the yoga vibe. Peggy’s studio is serene and calming. In class the other day, small windows at the top of the room were open to the air and you could hear the birds chirping and feel the warm breeze wafting through the session.
I was hungry for a yoga studio, needed it and sunk into it. When you’re doing yoga there is nothing but you and your mat and your mind/body connection. Really, the biggest thought I have during yoga is “wow, I’ve hit my edge” right before I fall out of a pose. Most of the time I am breathing in the movement, feeling my body, clearing tension and kinks and opening chakras and energy lines.
I’ve been practicing yoga for thirty years and just realized why I love plow position so much. Plow looks like this: head and shoulders on the floor, lift body up and over so toes are on floor over head and knees meet nose. That is plow. And plow took me out of all but the most gentle yoga for a two year stretch. Because while I love plow, these days it does not love me. There are a few other poses my back resists, but none leaves me feeling bereft like not flowing into plow during floor work.
Most people find plow a challenge, but for me it was always easy and right (until it wasn’t). I felt so good there. One of the stray thoughts that floated through practice the other day was that I was born in the plow position. My mother has told me this story so often and yet she called it something like double-breech birth. That is, I was folded into plow as I moved out of the birth canal and into the world. No wonder I found that position so easy and natural. Only took me thirty years to realize there might be a reason.
The secrets my body has told me during yoga …
My doctor is fine with me flexing, stretching, twisting, and balancing, but she still says I need aerobic exercise. There are flow yoga classes that get the heart pumping and I’ve taken them, but that was not the class I ended up at my new studio. No, I was in “basic” and that’s where I needed to be. After self-regulated sun salutations and half-moons, there is nothing better for a body than a position or an instructor that challenges you. You notice things about your body, places you’re holding on to tightness or twinges. Peggy (though she didn’t know it) gave me a new pose, something that doesn’t happen often after thirty years of practice. It’s my new favorite pose, it really flows and I’ll be doing it every day, in the studio or not.
I may have come into this world holding plow, but I will flow with serene strength to whatever comes next. That’s what yoga teaches the body. Ah but the mind. Well, ha, no better place for educating that unruly beast. We were in prayer triangle pose, which looks like it sounds, but I had my left and right confused so I wasn’t getting the twist that opens up the heart. First Peggy came next to me and mimicked the correct stance, but unlike Brian, my former teacher, instead of showing me with gentle touch, she instructed me with words. Then another person in the class said “Your OTHER left.”
And there I was right back at the bowling alley when not only my family but people from other lanes kept coming over in attempts to “help” me. There is no worse way to help me than to put unwanted attention on my form. It took me right out of yoga mind and into “well I hate this, why don’t they shut up, I’ll find it in my time” mode. And then of course the lesson sank in that this was part of my practice that day too, to let people who were not born when I first sat lotus tell me what to do and how to do it. I let my irritation float away and found prayer. I opened my heart wider.
And that, my friends, is where soul meets body.