Last night at yoga, the focus was to appreciate your body. “Accept where your body is now” was repeated throughout the class by my teacher.
As I warmed up my body, I felt my feet grounded to my mat. I felt appreciative of the sense of being grounded. I then went into plank position and was appreciative of my strength that holds my body steady. As we moved into side plank, I was discouraged when I would lose balance and was forced to catch myself with my arm. I then remembered “Accept where your body is now.” I would push myself back up, and do my best to finish the pose. We then moved into side angle poses. I took time to appreciate my strong legs that felt like tree trunks, grounded into the ground, supporting the weight of all the branches. While appreciating my strength, I found balancing became easier. I turned my head towards my fingers that were stretching to the ceiling and focused on my breathing. From there, we folded our bodies down, inhaling and feeling our chests fill with air, followed by an exhale as we rolled back up. I was grateful for my lungs, that can hold and control my deep breaths with ease. We would then reward our bodies with a forward fold. “Allow your breathing to dictate the pose.” As I folded my body down, I would take a deep breath in, and on my exhalation relax my entire body, allowing gravity to do the work. As I slowly sank deeper into my fold, I felt my body appreciate the pose. We sat on our mats, bent our knee while extending our opposite leg. The extended leg was flexed then lifted only one inch off the floor. Sounds easy, right? Well that’s what I thought but after only two breath cycles, I felt my leg tremble and shake. As silly as I thought it was, I was appreciative that something that sounds so simple could make my strong, tree trunk legs, tremble and work so hard.
We then finished, sitting in prayer position on our mats. “As you finish, think about taking this level of relaxation with you through the rest of the evening.” That’s the cue to pick up your mat and scramble to your car, back to reality. But I remained sitting on my mat in awe. Awe of how incredible my body truly is and how appreciative I am to have a capable, strong body. Awe that something so simple could work my body so hard. Awe in how relaxed I felt. Awe that as I took the time to appreciate my body, I felt my body appreciate my appreciation.
Though I am newer to yoga, I feel I will never stop learning. Whether it’s learning to finally get that headstand or more importantly how to appreciate my your body, I will never fail to learn something through a yoga practice. There is no such thing as a “Master Yogi.” True Masters never stop learning.