i am bliss (after yoga)
The first time I stumbled upon yoga was during my freshman year in High School. I attended a portfolio based alternative school that exposed us to education in a more experiential and creative manner. One of those ways was trying out different activities for gym credits and so, Keri, who was also the Physics teacher, taught me, my first yoga class. The poses or asanas as they are known, weren't my favorite at the time. It was the savasana, final resting pose, that hooked me. I felt myself falling into a deep, deep sleep. Next thing you know I caught myself snoring like a bear in the middle of "gym" class. That was my first yoga experience about twenty years ago and I have yet to forget it.
I have dabbled with yoga on and off since then. And if I am being honest, it was more off than on. It wasn't until about five years ago that I realized the power of yoga and how it made me feel physically and emotionally immediately after each class. I have tried African Flow Yoga, Hip-Hop Yoga, Yoga in the park (which is by far my favorite kind), Yoga in Times Square, and many other classes that grab my attention. In the past two years, the practice has become a more consistent one. I decided to deepen my relationship with yoga by making a commitment to paying a monthly streaming membership to practice at home. At first, I wasn't fond of working out at home but as a Mother of two, I had to get comfortable with the idea of making the best of whatever free time I could scrounge up to care for myself.
Prior to COVID19 and when school was still in session, I would wake-up before the boys did to indulge in 15-minute sessions. It may seem meaningless but it was a way I could trick my brain into not pressing snooze incessantly at 5:45 am. "It's just 15 minutes, Lisa. After that, you'll feel amazing and you know it," These were the kinds of things I would say to convince myself and it worked. The more it worked the better I felt. Getting my boys ready for school became an easier task to tackle on a daily basis. I was feeling less frazzled and in better spirits because of those 15 minutes I dedicated to myself and my practice. I started falling in love with that natural high. Life and work, especially, was turning out to be less of a drag. I could notice the difference in my body and my emotions on the days I didn't practice. Yoga has helped me learn about myself. It has helped me become a more patient and understanding individual. I feel stronger, more toned, and the challenge of the many poses makes me feel invincible.
Due to virtual learning, working from home, mothering two children, being a wife, an employee, and a writer; it has become difficult to muster up the energy and practice on a daily basis as I was doing six months ago. I do practice at least twice a week, however. I find the time to squeeze in a 15, 30, and sometimes 45-minute session in. It all depends on how badly I need it or how much time I can practice uninterrupted. Either way, I manage to practice because when I don't, I find myself in a funk with low energy and very little patience. Needless to say, I am not my best self and my family can tell immediately.
This week I experienced one of those days. I was in a bad mood, restless, and on the verge of imploding, that is, until my spirit invited me to the mat. I remembered, "Lisa, even if just 15 minutes, you'll feel better afterward." Not only did I immediately get on the mat because I knew it was true, but I completed a 45-minute session without overthinking it. I became one with my breath and my body. Before I knew it, the session was over and I was indulging in the juiciest savasana I'd ever experienced. My spirit was right; I felt renewed, lighter, and my mood shifted drastically. I was better equipped to help the boys with homework and in a better place to communicate with them without becoming easily triggered and angered.
Yoga has been my savior, especially during this pandemic as it has granted me access to parts of myself that I didn't know existed.