My therapist has been trying to get me to try yoga for years and I, as it was at first with meditation, was unwilling to even give it a try. He said that since I love to practice meditation and that I am physically active, that I should try yoga to see whether it could be a good fit. And it should help my painful back. I finally decided to do everything in my power to make my back feel better and yoga seemed to be a possible low risk solution.
I looked all over Sacramento and found a beginner’s series with a woman who was supposed to be good at adapting poses for people who are not flexible and needed extra TLC. I got an extra thick yoga mat (embarrassing at first, but definitely worth the extra comfort), and showed up with a somewhat skeptical mind.
The first class was extremely difficult. I found that I had a hard time holding the poses and the class seemed to last forever--it was 110 long minutes. I had never been so happy to be guided in a 15-minute meditation at the end of class.
To my surprise, I loved the second class. By some miracle, I was able to hold most of the poses and I felt like the yoga was going to make a difference in my back and my posture. She even started teaching us how to work with our feet to strengthen our arches. The meditation was welcome, once again, but this time, it was great just to feel what had happened in the class and the gratitude that I found something to add to my meditation practice.
During the third class, we worked on balance. The teacher explained to us that as we age there are many reasons that our balance becomes a problem, including loss of muscle mass and inner ear problems, but with practice, yoga can help us with our balance. It was tough. The teacher sent us home with a 21 day challenge of simple balance exercises. Once again, I was sore, but enjoyed the class.
I am going to, in addition to the beginner series, start working privately with the teacher to work on a productive practice regime to help my back, my posture, my arches, and my balance. She’s awesome and I’m lucky to have found her. Here's a link to her studio, The Yoga Solution in Sacramento, CA: http://www.theyogasolution.net/
I can tell when I engage my core and intentionally straighten my spine, that my posture is getting better. I look forward to learning more about yoga and how it relates to meditation.
I’ll let you know what I learn in future posts.