Get Off My Lawn

I can't tell if he's laughing or crying.

Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 1

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.

This is the studio I practice at. Just being there is a calming and serene experience.

This is the studio I practice at. Just being there is a calming and serene experience.

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 can't do this bit of body wizardry but someday I will.

I can’t do this bit of body wizardry but someday I will.

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.

 

 

 

Categories: Personal

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54 replies

  1. I told you in a previous post I do yoga for the benefits but don’t really enjoy it. Of course, I do it in my basement to DVDs so I don’t get that really nice smell of your studio. That must be what I’m missing.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your first visit, Sinbad. (The name I’ve randomly chosen to assign to you…)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I try to use some of the stretches associated with yoga (mostly those for older folk with various body/health issues) since I have arthritis in my neck and even if I could manage to get the rest of my body into those poses, the neck is another story and instantly complains. I always try to have my lavender candle burning (calming), but I would love to find a place around here that might provide a real, studio experience. I think I would be more motivated to stop slacking off or finding excuses.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You know the incense is to mask the farts, right? Not really for harmony for the sake of harmony….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Best of luck with the yoga, John. My daughter is a yoga teacher, and has been researching a relatively new program for trauma release, specifically for PTSD, in case you want to check it out. It looks promising. https://vimeo.com/103209258

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post. I’ve been avoiding yoga like crazy and everyone is telling me to go. Maybe your words will spur me on. And assigning names? I laughed out loud.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. You have multiple studios in your neighborhood to choose from? We have none. There was one, but it closed because people here are mighty suspicious about such new age things. We do have 200 churches, though.

    Seriously, though, good luck with it. I hope it helps.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. A few years ago, a woman I worked with got certified as a yoga instructor. As a way to introduce herself to teaching a class, she offered a free class to some co-workers at her home one evening a week. That was my introduction to yoga and I went a few times before she stopped. I was hooked, but there’s that whole “what do I have time to do in my life” thing. I’ve gone to some yoga classes sporadically since then. And I know this. I have to make this a regular part of my life. And as with you I prefer the style of yoga that combines the meditative with the physical.

    Thank you for the reminder that I need to make this happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are most welcome. I think that as I age this will be a vital part of my fitness and my mental health. I’ve felt really good after every class.

      Like

      • Same here. I forgot to comment on one of the things you mentioned … how at peace you are just being in the yoga studio and how nice the people are there. When I have done yoga, just the thought of doing it has provided me with greater “peace” and then when I follow through and attend a class, it is even better. It’s part of what has convinced me there is some truth to the benefits one can achieve through meditation and quiet and breathing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Absolutely. At the end of the class we lay on our mats just breathing quietly and doing this in a group is really something. I’m almost giddy at times because I’m drenched in sweat after using and being aware of every part of my body, and then the calming effect of just doing some regular deep breathing is magical. I’ve done some of the classes at home online but it isn’t the same.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Once again … completely agree. I’ve never done it at home and just can’t seem to force myself to because of what you describe. And those moments at the end of peace and quiet after stretching and pushing. OK. I need to find a yoga class again.

        I have this feeling you and I have some things in common. Our minds never stop whirring, we are constantly thinking and evaluating, and struggling, and yoga is this place where we allow ourselves to break that, to stop and be quiet and to try to shut those things down, if only for an hour. I think that’s why it means so much to us, because of the incredible change it brings to us and it shows us that peace and quiet is actually possible.

        Or maybe I’m wrong about that.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think you are on to something for sure. My brain never stops and I spend a lot of time alone. Too much probably. Part of what I love is doing something like this in a group. Collectively we are trying to achieve something as grand as inner peace or as simple as attaining the next posture. My mind can simply be in that present and stop whirring. And the effect lasts long after I’m done the class. And we all chant OM three times at the end and it sounds really impressive with the acoustics of the room. I think I’m very fortunate to have found this place.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. Stick with it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I know nothing about yoga but you make it sound good.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay!!! So happy to hear you’ve found a “happy place” to work out physically and mentally. It can be such a lifesaver.

    And I might be a boxer, but yoga is the shit. Several of the pro boxers at our gym have incorporated yoga into their training regimen, and I too try to every few weeks because it feels. So. Good.

    Enjoy it, Galahad (the name I’ve randomly chosen to assign to you after I saw Carrie Rubin do it. Y’all are funny.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would have not guessed this is something you’d pursue. I’m happy for you.

    I also assign names to people but they really aren’t the kind meant to be said publicly to people’s faces.

    (p.s. I got several days of laughs from “Chicken Little can go fuck himself.”)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is just awesome John. Beautifully written piece but also how AWESOME that you have discovered yoga and love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love yoga. Even when I feel like crap, yoga feels good 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Problem with yoga–I don’t like being behind folks because all of those fit, tight-pantsed asses in front of me challenge my feminist ally credentials, but don’t like being in front of people because, well, if I don’t have to look at myself from behind it doesn’t seem fair to make others do that. Maybe if yoga classes weren’t always populated by healthy good-looking women, I’d break the whole lecherous/self-conscious duality. Or better still, how about yoga classes for whiskey-soaked middle-aged men gone mostly to seed. I’d give that a whirl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes. I think one thing I really appreciate about yoga is that element really isn’t a part of it. I was a little self concious at first but quickly realized that the space is basically judgement free and the focus is entirely on breathing, meditating, and postures.

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      • Well, I’m thinking theoretically. I’ve never actually taken a yoga class, but my presumptions reflected in the posts above are informed by keen self-awareness, and a deep-seeded comfort in my idiom.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Good for you! I’ve been a yogi for a long time, it’s always nice to hear how people get involved. I loved how you say you never remember names, I suck at names too. I rather like the idea of assigning them, I’m going to try that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on Belle Papillon 24/7 and commented:
    I’m a big fan of reblogging for many reasons… mostly to share a great post, to increase awareness on a topic I’m passionate about and to support another blogger.

    I just discovered this guy John who writes so well I’ll be surprised if he hasn’t published a best-selling book yet.
    Anyway, I obviously love his writing style and I love YOGA and I want to share this post with my blogger friends. It’s in 3 parts I think and it’ll be the first time I’m actually going to reblog multiple times from 1 author successively… I just luv it!!! and I’m sure you’ll luv it. too…. 🙂

    Namaste!
    ❤ BP

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 2 | Get Off My Lawn
  2. Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 3 | Get Off My Lawn
  3. Yoga: The Hardest Bliss Part 1 – Belle Papillon 24/7

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