“Yoga is like giving myself a hug…”

Monday, 7th of July: New Yoga Class

I knew the general direction of the yoga class (2nd floor), but was alerted to the particular room by the handful of women holding mats under their arms. In groups of twos and threes, they chat and gossip, waiting for the class to begin. I am once again the new girl and I am getting the “outsider” vibe. The doors open a few minutes til 6 and we file in. I walk into the large room, uncertain. Like 25 red carpets, the yoga mats unfurl onto the floor in two rows. Predictably, the front row has only a few brave souls while the rest of us cluster in the back. A girl who looks impossibly young nearly skips to the front of the room and suddenly I realize she’s the instructor. Now, I may not be the most experienced yogi, but I am noticing a trend: all yoga classes I’ve been to are led by women with wild, naturally curly hair. This girl was no different, her hair held back in a relaxed braid. She laughs with a few of the front row-ers while everyone gets settled.
Still feeling totally out of place, I unroll my mat, scooting over so a girl can squeeze in beside her friend. We exchange niceties and she looks at me curiously. Apparently I sound Australian, which I’m not, but we chat for a few moments before the we start and I am comforted in my newness that this is her first time attending the class as well.
As the music begins, I note with satisfaction that the instructor has a ring on her left hand- evidence that she is at least an adult. The chatter fades as the room fuses into a collective noise, our breathing, synced to the moves, the music, and each other. I marvel and listen to my own:

Inhale, bend, exhale, stretch, feel, breath, simply be

Our down-dogs flow into planks, into chaturangas (yoga push ups), then up-dogs. I breath, feeling strong. My inner-self objects to my confidence, reminding me of my aching tendonitis and my inabilities to stretch deeply. I remind my inner-self that it is called a yoga practice for a reason. I do yoga because it is good for me (and my tendons); it is my gift to myself. When I do yoga I feel like I am giving myself a hug saying,

“You is strong, you is beautiful, you is important, you is LOVED” **

After an hour, we relax into savasana (“corpse pose” aka my mini-nap) with the lights dimmed. My muscles are sore, but happy. As am I. Life is good, England is grand, and both are made better by new friends and a great yoga class.


**a purposeful misquote of “You is kind. You is Smart. You is important” from the movie The Help (if you haven’t seen it, go right now and watch it)


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