Today I did Yoga
Today was the first time since undergrad that I took a Yoga class, over the years I have practiced Yoga using various Yoga video’s, DVD’s and YouTube video’s but this was the first time in years that I was actually in a class. As a former Physical Education teacher I know on the cognitive level the benefits of Yoga, and on an abstract level I remember how calm and present I felt when I was taking yoga. But in all honesty like most American’s I stored it away in the back of my mind under things to do when I have more time. This week Project Yoga Richmond participated in a 36 hour Yoga-thon consisting of …. You guessed it 36 hours of back to back Yoga classes! I missed the first day of classes because as is the norm I was ripping and running around getting my oil changed, returning emails, researching business tips etc… So once again I put Yoga on the back burner. Today instead of running around being “busy” I actually took an 1 ½ hour Yoga class, with so much change happening in my life, I really needed to unplug and reconnect to myself.
So I entered the building after a pretty hectic morning, I really didn’t want to get up but was trash day and that meant that Honey (The Wonder dog) was up and on duty warning me of the impending doom coming our way as the garbage truck approached. Since we live on a corner of a busy street the garbage truck of doom comes at us from all directions, so after the third lap I finally agreed to get up and help Honey patrol the perimeter. I changed up my morning routine and instead of making Chi tea, I opted for water, grapes, Greek yogurt and a heavily buttered croissant (don’t judge me). Then Honey and I were off for our morning walk, I usually use our walk as meditation and restorative time however today I just couldn’t get centered. Once we returned I got a text message from Ayana, my good friend, mentor and “boss” (as I am currently “working” as her intern/assistant) giving me a rundown of today’s activities. Which included heading back to Project Yoga Richmond only this time I was determined to take a class. When we entered the building everyone was smiling and speaking in a controlled whisper. After signing in I left Ayana at the registration desk and continued on with mission Yoga, as I walked down the hall I passed a trio of ladies sitting in the lounge area relaxing and enjoying pleasant conversation. I continued down the long narrow hallway and entered a secondary lounge area where I placed my many bags into a cubby. Suddenly I realized that I’d left my Yoga mat at home, but luckily I had 2 extra Yoga mats in my truck, (remnants left over from my 13+ years of teaching) so I ran back outside popped my trunk and grabbed the first mat I saw. Entering the studio was a huge contrast to what I had experienced in college, the room was dark with just a hint of light glowing from a red paper lantern/lamp in the corner. I found a spot (up front as is my usual custom at any dance, fitness, movement class) and unrolled my mat to get ready for class. As I settled in I noticed people getting pillows, blocks and blankets, not wanting to be out of step I got a pillow and block for myself, now I have never actually used a pillow or block before but being the lifelong scholar I am I wanted to be prepared. The class started and I was pleasantly surprised as how quickly the breathing and poses came back to me. For the first time in years I was able to focus on “being” I didn’t have to struggle to keep my mind engaged (like I did when I did DVD yoga at home) my mind stayed actively engaged and focused on the task at hand. Yoga allowed me to be free in a new way, normally I equate feeling free with the reckless abandon I feel while dancing or hooping but this freedom was different. It was peace in the absence of chaos. All of the thoughts and voices that had kept me up and caused me anxiety were silent, and all I could think about was controlling my breathing and maintaining my balance. I can’t say that I will become an avid Yoga fan but I will say that this is something that I plan on doing more often. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Lottie Ellington burst on the Richmond's Burlesque scene in April of 2011 and has been on a mission to shimmy, shake and hip roll her way in to your heart!