“You can’t engage in this practice every day and not change.”
This comes from my Ashtanga yoga instructor who is welcoming me back to the shala like a prodigal daughter – open arms and smiling with encouragement after my two-year hiatus.
It’s day four and I’m in the getting-my-behind-kicked phase of my practice. My arms ache and I’m continuously humbled into modified postures due to my lack of strength. One of the yogis has scattered jasmine flowers around my mat, the fragrance wafting up every time I do a forward fold. “Welcome back.”
Our practice space is in the center of town – what’s called the “Parish Hall” and it is shared by the community as a gathering spot for everything from hula and Zumba classes to AA meetings. In the mornings from 7:30 – 9:30am, it’s filled with bodies fogging the windows with powerful ujjayi breathing.
Yoga infiltrates life beyond the two-hour practice time, as well. Yesterday after a trip to the auto shop (and an hour-long wait with a squirmy and hungry Jeb) I set out to find new shoes for his growing feet. By the fifth store I was feeling impatient, losing momentum. It wasn’t perfect, but I did find some deep breaths come a bit more easily in the size 2 aisle of Vans slip ons.
This morning at breakfast Jeb says, “You know, it’s hard to imitate Darth Vader‘s voice because he’s always doing that breathing.”
“Yeah, well, do you remember when I used to bring you to yoga sometimes? You were five then and I’d set you up with Legos while I practiced?”
“Remember how everyone in the room was doing that deep breathing sound?”
“Kind of sounds like Darth Vader, huh?”
“Hey, it does!”
“Maybe Darth Vader is a yogi.”
“Do you think they got that breathing from Darth Vader?”
For now, I’m showing up on my mat. Practicing. Watching my breath and being open to change.