Anxiously I paced, back and forth across the warm wooden floor. Outside, the sun sank below the horizon, reflecting blues and magentas off the empty skating rink ice. "Lets all find our mats" the instructor said, in a tone that matched the lavender scent of the room.
After nearly a year of interest, and my own attempts at independent stretching, my first yoga class was set to begin. "We'll start with Childspose" what a relief. "Feel the weight of your day release from your body" I did.
Following a gentle introduction the pace grew faster, as our instructor introduced the flow. Downdog to Chaturanga, Chaturanga to Cobra, back to Downdog. My breaths grew shorter, and my heart raced, as I struggled to keep up. Warrior One, now Warrior Two, oh and I can't forget Three Legged Dog.
Lost in the flow, I had no concept of time. Seconds became breaths, and minutes new poses. At times my arms shook, and my legs screamed for mercy, but as the lights dimmed and we entered into our final pose, my body and mind melted into a state of deep relaxation. There in vegetation, for once my mind was silent.
As the lights grew stronger, and the music softened, I rose from the ground and reentered reality. No words were said, as I rolled up my mat and slipped on my shoes, but a sense of shared admiration floated about the room. In my relaxed pace, I found myself alone with the instructor and a brief conversation ensued.
With a ten punch pass in my right hand, I emerged into the cold night filled with an internal warmth. As I walked the mile or so back toward my apartment, I contemplated just how wrong I'd been about yoga. For years my mom had tried to get me to go, and for years I'd told her that she needed to do more traditional workouts like me. But through the consistent struggle that is yoga, I now believe it to be the most powerful workout of all. Unlike the ego driven exploits of weight lifting, yoga is a deeply introspective exercise with effects felt far beyond the mat.
Since my first class three days ago, I've begun each day with a flow that has helped propel me into the day. As our instructor said to us at the end of my class, "namaste".
"Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us "