After teaching Wednesday night to some new to yoga, absolute beginners, I started to think about the very first, new to yoga, absolute beginner yoga class that I took years ago in that far away country of Japan…
I was living the life-high flying English teacher by day, sought after private conversation tutor by night. But I was tired. I was tired of the fast paced, hustle and bustle that had become my life. I wanted, needed time to decompress, to relax, to breathe (which is funny because the first thing I learned in my yoga class is that I didn’t breathe properly. I HATED the sound of my breathing or anyone else’s and boy, did that not work with all that Ujjayi breathing going on in the class!) I had always liked the idea of yoga, even toyed with a tiny bit in high school, but had only ever been to a hot yoga class in the middle of the Osakan summer. Now, forgive me, but one does not need any other invitation to sweet in an Osakan summer-just being alive is enough for that 🙂 So hot yoga was not for me. I somehow stumbled upon an advert in English advertising yoga classes in English. I looked up the website, figured out where it was located, and jumped on my bike to go to my first class.
I was a tiny bit nervous attending my first class which ended up being held in Yukiko’s flat. There were about 6 of us and we were all spread out with our mats, side by side. We started by sitting, closing our eyes, and just breathing. We let our minds empty (Ha! Very hard for me) and just focused on our breathing. After what seemed like an eternity (2 minutes, really) we started to stretch and warm up. When it was finally time to start our Sun Salutations, it took a lot of concentration but I finally got the flow of them. We moved on to standing postures and by the time we had gotten to our shoulderstand, I was feeling good. I mean really good. My mind was pretty clear (for me, that’s a miracle) and I was really enjoying the feeling of my body moving and stretching into positions I hadn’t thought possible. While settling into Savasana or relaxation pose, my teacher came over and just smiled at me. It was in that moment that I had felt like I had found something that I belonged to, found something that felt natural and helped me relax.
Walking out into the hot and sultry Osaka night after class I felt the most relaxed I had felt in years. My mind was freer that it has been in months and I just felt like I was able to slow down and not rush. And that feeling was priceless for me.