My Yoga Journey: what happened next
Sat here some two years later, I have a totally different perspective on those first 6-9 months of yoga. But at the time it was so so tough. I very much went into those early Iyengar classes with the view that all I wanted to do was fix my shoulder. But then two things happened.
Firstly, I saw people doing headstand. I guess I must have know that headstand was a thing, but I don’t think I had ever seen it in real life. And it totally blew me away. There I was totally unable to lift my arm above my head, or barely breathing in downward dog, and half the class just popped up around me into these beautiful headstands. So still and steady. Holding them for minutes at a time. My jaw was on the floor. And a fire started to burn in my belly. I wanted to do that too.
Secondly, the quiet. There is no music in Iyengar. Only long holds, and your breath, and your thoughts. And normally quite a strict teacher! If you are lucky, the teacher offers some distraction by talking you through the pose. Or offers you or someone nearby an adjustment. And you hang onto those words or that touch like it’s a port in the storm. Because everything that is happening in your body and your mind is so out of your comfort zone. Your body groans and shakes and fights back against what you are asking it to do. Your mind cannot comprehend what this is either. And it wanders and fights back and tells you this was a stupid idea and that you shouldn’t even be here. And the battle rages on. And on. And on.
But then one day the quiet happens. A briefest moment when you are totally there. All is truly quiet. You are completely in the moment.
And that is when I realised there might be more to this than just cool poses and a fixed shoulder.
So I struggled on. And it was truly a struggle.
Those first few months of yoga are pure dogs work. Especially if you are dealing with an injury, battling against years of sitting at a desk, or if you do a lot of other sports. You are caught in this rather horrible catch 22 when you aren’t flexible enough to do the poses ‘properly’ so every single moment of the class is exceptionally hard work. But you aren’t strong enough (mentally or physically) to push your body through it more than a couple of times a week. So the progress is slow. Achingly slow.
But slowly those moments of quiet and those moments of change in your body become more frequent. And it gets easier. Or less difficult at least!
I went to 1-2 Iyengar classes a week for those first 6-9 months of my yoga journey. It took me pretty much that amount of time to get strong enough to do a push-up/hold a chaturanga, and touch my toes in uttanasana (standing forward fold). And if you needed some proof, here are some pictures from that time!
See my next post on adding vinyasa into the mix…