Working a 9-5 job, caring for a 7-year old child as a single parent part of the time, and taking 30 yoga classes in a month may sound like an impossibility on the surface, but I did it in September and found that everything actually worked better together. My consistent practice made parenting easier and work go more smoothly, which reinforced my desire to practice, creating a virtuous loop.
To make it all work, I’d often take two or three classes a day when I had the opportunity to. The more I practiced, the deeper I went, and the longer I was able to stay present and at ease throughout the day. I began noticing that when I took two classes in a row, the first class would clear away the mental and emotional cobwebs of the day and the second would invite me into what felt like a deep pool of calm and understanding; a pool that went much deeper than I knew existed. Some classmates and I laughed that “one just wasn’t enough for me anymore.” I was hooked.
Simple movements like getting out of bed, walking down the street, sitting in a chair, all began to feel different - more embodied. And my sleep – on many nights I slept like I hadn’t slept since I was a child.
On the flip side, after several days in a row of two or three-a-day classes, I began to see that there is such a thing as too much; that indeed there needs to be balance in yoga as well as, just like in all other parts of life.
I took a variety of classes. No matter what type of class, I found they all created the same reliable sense of transformation, just in different flavors. No matter what state I showed up to class in, I learned to count on yoga to bring me back to center every time. It continues to amaze me how the practice of focusing on breath and movement create a consistent, powerful effect on my mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual, and physical health.
As an employee of a large environmental nonprofit, one of the insights that arose during practice was that we are, as human-beings, a sitting, walking, talking ecosystem. There’s a lot going on inside us. I’ve danced with this concept before, but I felt like I experienced this understanding in my body during practice. My intention to use my professional capacity to care for Earth and all life starts with me then, in the ecosystem of me. Ecosystems need flow, diversity, balance, and so does my own life energy. The practice of yoga is like an effective environmental nonprofit for my self, ensuring these life-giving qualities are present, cleansing pollutants, and shifting the mindsets that create pollution in the first place. How can I create health “out there” if I haven’t first paid attention to it “in here”? This was a radical shift for me, and has left me wondering how we might combine yoga and environmentalism to harness the powers of both at the same time?
Feeling more present, whole, and connected both within and also to life more broadly is enough in itself. But what rounds out the experience for me is what it does for how I’m able to show up in the moment with others at work, at home with my daughter, and with those around me. Incrementally, I notice I’m able to listen more openly, take the world in a more deeply, and appreciate the moment I’m in. Life is still life, with its ups and downs and endless lessons, but the practice of yoga and the community and teachers at Yoga Bhoga make the living much richer – Thank you!