By D. E. Boone
“Breathe into the bow pose,” the instructor gently encouraged.
I struggled to maintain my position. At first it was very difficult. On the mat with my legs drawn back and feet raised high. I could barely clutch my ankles and keep my head up at the same time.
“Try to keep your chest off the mat,” she instructed.
I felt my lower back loosen as I stretched my spine. I inhaled deeply and tried to focus. Each long deep breath I took ignited a glowing fire within me. It flooded my body with new sensations, sending waves of energy throughout me. I could feel my insides awakening. It actually felt good. This both soothed and alarmed me. I had been comfortable with feeling bad for too long.
“Hold it, a little longer.”
Beads of perspiration formed on my brow. My muscles started to ache. Gasping, I looked around the room and was relieved that no one seemed to notice. Soon my breath gave out. I was the only male in the room, yet, most of the women held their poses with relative ease. I knew that true growth required change. Was I ready for this?
“Remember there is no competition in yoga,” I heard her warm voice say. “If you are having problems, modify your pose so that it is comfortable to you.”
Frantically I looked left and noticed the young women next to me. Apparently she was exhausted and simply collapsed on her mat. With no shame or embarrassment, she smiled reassuringly at me. It must have shown on my face that I’d had enough. That is when I knew it was true. This was not a sporting event. I began to feel comfortable. I could do as much or as little as I wanted. I removed all self induced pressures. Just then, my body gave out. Almost amused, I fell face first on the mat, savoring the moment.
It was my first yoga class. Led here by my desire to quit smoking I was determined to be healthy. It took tremendous effort. Inspired by all the dedicated ladies in my class, I stayed with the struggle. What followed surprised me. I fell in love with the practice of yoga. I became aware of my body. I learned meditation and saw something deeper in myself. I felt more energized and more relaxed. I truly discovered the mind/body connection.
Today, for the first time in my life, I can hear the birds singing. I can actually appreciate the flowers blooming. I am a new person. Yoga alone is not a cure all, but combined with dietary and lifestyle changes, it can make a profound difference in your life.
I still consider myself a beginner. I strive for one class a week, along with daily practice at home. Sometimes I don’t want to do it. Then I remember the words of my instructor: “Yoga is successful when practiced with devotion, over a long period of time.”
It works. Sometimes I take a few days off, just to see. I notice a sharp decline in my mind and body, when not doing yoga. I feel off balanced. I feel lethargic. I never want to go back to the days when feeling bad was the norm.
All it takes to get started is one class. It’s just that simple. My first class lit the fire of yoga inside of me. It warmed me to the idea of greater harmony, balance and well being through a series of postures, breath of movement and inner awareness. That fire still burns in me today.
D. E. Boone on D.E. Boone
I live in New York City. Every time I think I have all the answers, someone changes the questions. I am working on a novel and a play. Of course, working a full time job, means there is never enough hours in a day. I am always growing, and trying to learn new things. Writing allows me to be heard. If I write something that touches you in any way, don’t hesitate to let me know.