Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For the Love of Yoga

Thanks for the way you make me feel like I just swallowed sunlight. I hope we're together for as long as that sun shines.

It's been 20 years since taking a Hatha Yoga class my junior year of college. Since then it has always been a part of my life. For over a year I have been fortunate to teach a mixed level Vinyasa Flow class 1-3 times per week. Each week there are usually new students who join the class. I tell them yoga means to join the mind, body, and breath, and to enjoy the hour as a gift to themselves.
The bottom line: It Feels Good!
As we move our bodies in a dimly lit room, we quite the mind. We check in and release any tension or strain. There is no competition or judgement. We breathe and feel ourselves in the present moment. We stretch. Inhale. Exhale.
It Feels Good.
Below is a letter I found written by a women who loves yoga too.
Dear Yoga,
I know, I know, we were just on the mat together, but there's something I'd like to say before we meet again tomorrow.
We live in a world that loves to tell me what to do with my body. From parents to teachers to government to doctors and dentists and personal trainers to television to the backs of cereal boxes, for Pete's sake.
Every day, someone tells me what and what not to eat (yes to quinoa, no to ice cream - thanks for that, when and when not to eat (every two hours, only when I'm hungry), what numbers I have to know (cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI), what behavior is acceptable (don't sing on the subway), what I must buy to be attractive (that is so last year), what hours I must work to prove my worth (lots and lots), what performance I've got to give every day to be worthwhile to someone else (always on, always 100%).
None of this feels like me.

So, yoga, thanks for encouraging me to show up when it feels right, to do what feels wonderful and within my chosen limits (my choice!), to challenge myself when I care to, and to rest in Child's Pose whenever I want. Thanks for encouraging and not demanding. Thanks for the joy you give back, whether I'm with you for five minutes or an hour and a half.
I love the way you make me laugh more easily, like myself more with every pose, and remind me with every practice of the beautiful, glowing-faced wonder I am.

Thanks for the way you make me feel like I just swallowed sunlight. I hope we're together for as long as that sun shines,
Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (about All Things Wonderful) from North Bay, Ontario.
The photo above was taken with my friend Susan as we attended David Romanelli's
Yoga + Chocolate Everything is Sweeter in the Moment workshop. That was a treat!

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