Yoga – My Journey | Week 3
Yoga helps us work with discomfort. You’ll here me tell ya.. It’s where the growth and magic happens. So stepping into the yoga space for the first time is a big deal – but imagine then sharing that vulnerability and putting yourself out there (baggy yoga pants and all) to write a blog about it! Please join me in thanking yoga newbie Paul Warner for putting his discomfort aside to help you guys get some idea of what it REALLY feels like to be a fledging yogi finding his way in a whole new space of health, healing and wellness.. 👏🙌🙏 J X
by Paul Warner
Week 3 was suddenly upon me. My week had been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally and I was tired and fed up so this was the last thing I needed. Should I just skip the class? But what if I miss something important? I forced myself into the car, it was wet and cold outside despite it being July.
I walked in and I was the first one to arrive. For the third week running I had forgotten my water bottle, I was already beating myself up and wishing I had stayed in bed.
Shoes and socks off, this week I had bought a pair of light cotton baggy pants, much more comfortable that my old thick jogging bottoms. I looked the part even though I felt like shit. Even the big smile from Josie had not had the usual effect. I wandered onto the studio floor to claim my mat, already, I had a favourite position. As I did so, a warmness, almost a glow started to rise through me like the kid from the porridge advert. ‘Is that a heated floor’, I quizzed, Josie grinned and said ‘do you like it?’ Man, seriously, such a simple thing had suddenly made me feel welcome, made me feel wanted and bought back the feelings from last week.
Already this was starting to feel good.
We started lying down, flat on our backs, I could feel the warmth through the mat. The ‘shoulder roll’ that is a Josie signature move, reminded that I was carrying so much tension and stored energy from my week. ‘This week, we are working on flow…’ there it was again, that stern, warm voice that had become my comfort blanket. Feet up towards my bum, soles flat, I raised my arms, slowly up and back behind me, already this was starting to feel good. Raising my hips, things stretched but in a very satisfying way. Slow, controlled movement, do it with awareness. This time, still on my back, knees raised slowly using my ‘trans abs’ which i think is a techy term for tummy muscles. As my knees lowered, I really felt the pull on my tummy. Yoga is the most odd thing. None of the movements are rapid, well at least mine aren’t. But, despite this, I could already feel how hard my body was working.
How the hell does this woman know what I am thinking??
A ‘low flow’ followed, which is simply a series of movements that ‘flow’ into each other. When I say simple, it IS simple when Josie does it with us, but the final run she just cued us, so talked us through the move. My mind went blank… squeeze what? raise when? bugger… again that voice answered my thought ‘just do a flow that is right for you and don’t get irritated when it doesn’t go right’ How the hell does this woman know what I am thinking??
Alignment (feet, hips, knees) seemed to come more naturally. Breathing, count of four in, count of four out. This week, a close friend got herself in a bit of a tizzy and I was able to show her the breathing technique to allow her to calm herself. Even child’s pose felt more natural but it seems I had landed in the pose my body was comfortable with. Josie showed me that my elbows has splayed out and reminded me that it is not about the speed I come into the pose, and to always check my alignment, something I noticed she did all the time, even with all her experience.
Feeling tired, I stayed in my child’s pose during the next flow. One of the things that Josie constantly tells us is to listen to our bodies, if we need a break, sink to child’s pose and engage when we are ready. I felt a bit of a fraud but Matron had noticed and used the opportunity to remind the whole group it was important to listen to our bodies, break if we need, drink if we need. It felt odd, almost like the whole class was looking at this shirker. I now wished I had chosen the mat at the back of the class.
(Editor’s note..errr…sorry for the interrupt but ‘Matron’… sees everyone (back, front, middle) .. and as Paul is sort of explaining.. it’s not shirking… it’s self care! We need to work on your self talk Paul ;))
I joined in on the next flow hoping nobody was looking. All of the flows were ground based so far and I found myself struggling with being too far forward or too far back on my mat. It then dawned on my that the mats Josie had chosen were not only environmentally friendly and locally sourced but the design included geometric lines for guidance which I started to use as my reference point. It then dawned on me a second time that it had taken me three weeks to notice this and would explain why the rest of the group were not shuffling backwards and forwards on the mat like the game of snakes and ladders I was playing!
From a position that a sprinter might take on the starting line, my arms lifted up towards the sky, my spine stretched, with my plans facing each other, this felt SO bloody good. There was nothing even slightly complicated about it, how did it feel so good??
On our backs now, the bolster came in to play. It is like a huge fat sausage, but has a tactile nature that makes it very appealing. Josie inserted the bolster under the knees of each of us in turn. We then rolled the bolster up slightly so it sat under our sacrum. Legs raised, I could feel by whole body sink into the bolster. This was a really odd feeling, almost like weightlessness in my lower body.
I was thankful because I had not listened to that voice that was in my head when the alarm went off this morning.
The bolster stayed in play, this time propped on an angle with a couple of the blocks we had used last week. I laid my spine along the length of this angled bolster. I felt my chest open up. my body seemed to sink backwards around this giant sausage, bugger I thought, I need to get me one of these… this felt even more glorious than the standard shavasna. Our awareness was called upon, first to notice a physical feeling, labelling that feeling. Breath was next, odd because I had suddenly stopped thinking about a physical feeling and now jus focussed on my breathing. Energy followed, what were my energy levels? then thought, what was I thinking? No attachment to any of these, just an intention to notice them. Finally, our emotion, when I switched my awareness to emotion, what was the first feeling that rose up. Mine was thankfulness, gratitude to myself… scary
I was thankful because I had not listened to that voice that was in my head when the alarm went off this morning. I expressed gratitude to myself for turning up and for anyone that knows me, they will know that is a bloody MASSIVE step forward for me…
I have know idea how this stuff works but I do know that it was more that my muscles moving this week, it was something inside that was stirring, something I guess that I had tried so many times to just bury… was I really ready for all of this?
(Paul flows through Cat/Cow (KaCow) and into Downdog. (Look like you’re ready for all this to us Paul!).