I feel like I am walking on air . . .
– Kerli Kõiv
I had my first vinyasa yoga class tonight and I found that it agrees with me better than any other form of yoga I have tried. I understand for certain that I wouldn’t have gotten through it if I had not previously practiced ashtanga poses using the Wii Fit and been through militant bikram classes, but this form of yoga feels the most pure, natural, fluid, and spiritual to me. The flow of the poses helped me release tension all over my body, and I realized just how stiff and sore my hips, back, legs, and shoulders actually were.
I understand now why people have dedicated yoga practices that extend for years. People don’t just practice yoga for the health benefits; they practice it because it makes them feel better. This is what has been missing from my rehabilitative therapy for so long (perhaps ever): working with the intention (and hope) to feel better. I’ve been encouraged to relax into the work, and I think I can do so using this form of yoga. That isn’t to say it isn’t hard (it certainly is) but there is a certain fluidity to the movement and a calmness to the intent that makes it a holistic and wholehearted practice rather than just a physical one. Even though I am neither religious nor spiritual, I feel as though I have had a spiritual experience. I feel like I will be able to challenge myself and my body in a safe and healthy way, and I feel like a new form of activity can unlock potential and ability that I didn’t know I had or have not allowed myself to experience.
After class ended, I signed up for thirty consecutive days of yoga. My blogging for the next month will chart my experience through my own self-directed yoga challenge. I have chosen not to set any goals or expectations for myself so that I can be open to everything as it happens and to fully embrace the experience. If I go into the work too determined to use it to overcome my disability, I will set myself up for disappointment and failure. I plan to use this challenge as more of a healing journey than a form of rehabilitation.
When I went into class this evening, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it (especially when we used blocks to hold certain balancing poses) but now I believe that I can and I will. I believe in the possibility of therapy through this yoga and I believe in my ability to practice it. It will only get better with both dedication and openness.