I can’t remember which Mixed Martial Arts fighter I’d first heard talk about doing yoga as part of his training, but that’s when the idea of practicing yoga started to intrigue me. The fighter explained that yoga had helped immensely with injury prevention, balance, and breathing techniques. These are things that, as I age, I would like to improve upon.
Then I heard an interview with a recent veteran of Afghanistan who discussed practising yoga with an emphasis on meditation as a way of treating his PTSD. I probably have some form of PTSD, and anyone who reads this blog can attest to that.
So I hemmed and hawed for a good while and then, just after Christmas, I decided to take the plunge.
I am fortunate enough to live in a neighbourhood that has multiple studios, so I had a variety of choice. I settled on Sattva Yoga Studio because it seemed to have the right combination of the meditative and physical. To this point my expectations have been exceeded. The studio is aesthetically beautiful and it smells really, really good. If you want to know some of my less pleasant experiences with smells, read this. The incense they burn makes one feel as if one is inhaling harmony and contentment. Everyone is nice. And not customer service nice–nice like they enjoy their lives and are genuinely happy that you’re there. Believe it or not, in the course of my life, people haven’t always been happy that I’m in their presence. Just today as I was leaving, the woman at the reception desk said with a big smile, “Bye John.” She remembered my name. I’m a bit of an asshole and self-involved so I never remember anyone’s name. I often just assign names to people, which causes confusion to the person and people who know the person. But if you look like a Coral then I’ll likely assign you that name. Sorry, Coral. Clearly the people at Sattva have evolved beyond the infantile mind set.
I signed up, but because of my work schedule I wasn’t able to attend the introductory classes. I was assured that most of the classes were for people of all levels. Huh? You mean a newb like me can join a class, flop and wobble like a newborn colt, in a class full of experienced practitioners, and won’t be given the stink-eye? Seriously? I was assured multiple times that it would neither distract from the class nor cause any anxiety to the instructor or the other participants. I was skeptical but I thought, what the hell, I’ll give it a go. I’ve since learned that competition and judgement are two things that have no place in yoga. Now that’s refreshing. And it sure has made old Floppy McWobble here a relaxed and–dare I say–blissful participant.
I’ll leave it at that. Stay tuned for part two where I discuss my first session, how my yoga mat was stolen but really just misplaced, and the benefits accrued thus far.