Yoga for Beginners: Moving Meditation

The Gratitude Challenge Day 3: I’m Grateful I Went to Yoga

Sweating on a thin foam mat with my forehead pressed against my knees, the blood rushing to my head, and the sound of trickling water and chanting in the background I ponder: how did I get here? A bright eyed woman with an effortless smile tells me to “salute the sun” and so my arm stretches above me. After telling myself I’d give yoga another shot I finally made it. I’m here to report that I’m grateful for this decision.

My Spirit is a Dancer

I grew up as a dancer. I believe I was born a dancer. Using my body to express energy through movement has always brought me joy. I danced on stage from the age of four to sixteen. Sixteen was around the time my anxiety began to intensify, and as you can imagine the first place a prepubescent, insecure freshman high school girl wants to be is almost never on a stage in front of hundreds of people wearing spandex and a tutu. So I quit.

I didn’t quit dance because I wanted to. My desire to dance was still there, but my fear of dancing was stronger. I left that part behind and buried the regret of letting fear win. I had a collection of cringe-worthy dance recital videos and self taught routines recorded on my old Macbook Photobooth to last a lifetime.

Fast forward to my 23 year old self swaying to Tai Chi, saluting the sun, and stretching my hibernating muscles, all I could think about was dance. This class let me flow, not only physically, but fluidly in time. The thing I realized I always treasured about dancing and now about yoga is its ability to bring you completely into the present moment.

Yoga and the Power of Now

It wasn’t until after I rolled up my mat, filled up my water bottle, and took my sweaty self back to the change room that I realized how clear my mind had been throughout the class. I was so focused on feeling the stretch and rolling up one vertebrae at a time that I forgot about the campaign I was stressing over, the laundry sitting on my floor, or the text I forgot to send.

Yoga grounded my feet like roots in the earth and brought me sharply back into the present moment. This moving meditation had me hooked. I especially noticed the mind body connection as I balanced in tree pose (Vriksasana). Every time my mind wandered or I tried too hard to remain still, I fell. When I cleared my mind I stood effortlessly, with strength instead of swaying.

Yoga for Beginners Tip: Show Up

In addition to my regular gym routine I’m going to try out yoga studios around the city to increase my knowledge of the beautiful practice. I am grateful that I chose to overcome my fear of new things to try a class and find solitude there.