Yoga: To some this simple word evokes excitement. Some, complete calm. And some, complete uncertainty and even fearfulness.
I would generally have belonged to the latter group - up until recently, that is. And I can count myself among the lucky few who have overcome their fear of “Yoga” due to one little leap of faith: The Beginners Series. That’s right, folks, a compete and utter novice is writing here to tell you a little bit about her personal journey of growth and discovery through, what I now like to call, the art of Yoga.
I started the Beginner’s Series last week at Hot Yoga Plus, Northshore in hopes to learn a bit more about this practice I’ve dabbled in over the last few years. I realized when I nearly passed out in the last seemingly more advanced class that I took, that I never really learned the basics of the movements I was throwing myself into class after class.
I could not be more pleased with my decision! We’re only 2 sessions in and I have already begun to correct and learn so many things about the poses in Sun Salutation A that I would have never considered. Slight tweeks, that if I had continued to do improperly, could have led to injury. No bueno! Not to mention Kelsey Vasileff, our fearless and kind leader, is the best! I highly recommend taking any of her classes - she’s calm, cool, and collected, and most of all, willing to help.
The class is made of a variety of ladies from all different backgrounds in practice: completely new to having done multiple beginners series. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone! It’s also really nice to start learning the terminology I’ve heard in past classes. Admittedly, I never had the courage to ask anyone in the past what the heck Ujjayi (the Victorious Breath) or uddiyana bandah (belly lock) meant. Simple little pieces of knowledge like this have already made a massive difference in my understanding of the practice and have made it a lot more relatable in other areas of my life. Especially uddiyana bandah. I practice ballroom dance on the side and we recently had a coach come in from out of town and she helped us with some technique. A huge part of keeping dance frame and making your movements more correct and balanced is engaging your core. She described nearly the exact same “belly lock” that Kelsey taught in the first session - uddiyana bandah! My mind was blown, so to speak. It’s a simple thing but it’s really impacted me not only as we get more in depth in our poses but also in my dance rehearsals. It’s also been helpful to engage that tiny area when sitting at a desk all day or on a long car drive. It’s helped me be more mindful of my posture and improving my posture has made me feel more alert during the day. I could go on …
So as we move into week three of the series, we will continue to refine Sun Salutation A and progress through Sun B. I’m looking forward to more little revelations in the weeks to come. It is amazing me how much I am beginning to realize the impact Yoga practice can have on a person’s daily life and general mentality. I could have continued going to sporadic Yoga classes and choosing to remain ignorant to simple terms like Ujjayi and so on. I think this is how a lot of people fall into living - choosing, whether consciously or subconsciously, to stick to knowing only the surface of things or people. But if you don’t make an effort to explore or get to know something or someone better, there will never be the opportunity to take the newly found knowledge and experience and see how it can spread like fingers of a river through other areas of your life and psyche.
That’s what I’m learning thus far. So my initial fears and insecurities about Yoga have been washed away and are transitioning into something I am really excited about!