I came in to class on Tuesday with sore shoulders from a recent vigorous Vinyasa practice and a tight upper back from hours spent hunched over my computer keyboard. My breath was shallow and constricted from breathing out of just one nostril. The funny thing is, I didn’t notice any of these things before class. It was yoga that brought them to my attention and initiated the remedy.
I’d decided to go to the 4:30pm Yoga Basics class, probably because my unconscious was telling me I needed to take it slow and unwind. The instructor, Wren, greeted each student individually, asking how everyone felt that day. She has a gentle way of talking that makes you feel instantly welcomed, cared-for and safe. She started the class in savasana. Lying on my back with my eyes closed, my hands resting quietly on my belly, I let my breath take up all of my awareness. I could feel the exchange of oxygen; the outside taken inside, integrated and then released.
“Yoga is such a private experience,” Wren said to us while our eyes were closed. “Let your breath nourish your body.” Her voice was soft but clear. We lay on our backs for awhile, gently stretching and then flowing in and out of bridge pose with the breath. As the class transitioned to seated and standing poses, Wren reminded us to rely even more on the breath during challenging postures. The slow, steady pace of the class meant that I didn’t have to think about what was coming next. I could concentrate on breathing – and it’s amazing what breathing consciously for an hour will do for the body and the mind.
Of course, Yoga Basics is the perfect class for beginning students, but it was a welcome oasis for this experienced yogi. It’s always beneficial to really hear everything the body has to say and to communicate internally each day. The only way to do that is to slow down, find a steady breath and inquire. Wren makes space for each of her students to make those inquiries and gently encourages everyone to respond to the subtle messages of the body; providing well-timed suggestions to take you deeper into the experience of connection with the self.
When I left the studio, I felt so calm. My eyes were soft, my shoulders had receded back to their natural state and my breathing was full and open. If you’ve never been to yoga before, Yoga Basics is certainly a great introduction and if you’re a more seasoned practitioner, the tumultuous Fall season is the perfect time to get back to basics.
To all our readers, Keep Calm and Yoga On! Hope to see you around the studio soon!