I think I might have inspired myself. Writing this article about yoga and RA made me miss taking a real, bonafide yoga class something awful, so I figured it was time to finally end my yoga exile and take one. Luckily for me, my old yoga studio recently added a purely restorative yoga class back onto the schedule (hooRAY!) on Sunday evenings, a most perfect time for me and my schedule, and a most perfect time to do some soothing, quieting yoga.
I have to admit that I was feeling a little sappy and even apprehensive about taking class again. Would I start crying on the mat in front of everyone? Would the once familiar setting feel comforting or be just another reminder of how much everything has changed?
See, back in the day, I used to spend multiple hours a week, every week, at this studio. I started practicing there almost from the time I moved to New York City and instantly loved it. It reminded me of a studio I had practiced at weekly when I lived in London, and I felt welcomed, happy and rejuvenated each time I took a class there. I eventually came to know many of the teachers pretty well, and then decided to take the journey to become a yoga teacher myself. The training program I did lasted over nine intense months, and in those nine months, the studio became a home away from home. I ate there, I practiced there, I made close friends there, I learned there and worked hard there. Hell, I even slept there once or twice when I had time to kill and needed a nap!
For a good three years, my path in the city led me to the doors of this studio nearly every day. Much of my social circle was made up of people I had met through practicing there. In many way, as much as my office and my apartment, this yoga studio was a mini-center of my world. And then, suddenly, it wasn't anymore. In the past year, I didn't go there once. Many of the friends and acquaintances I had made through my connection to this studio have since fallen away, as so often happens when everyone leads very busy lives. Out of sight, out of mind, as much for me as for them. Though I've begun to practice again, I have done so in the comfort and privacy of my own apartment, all by myself.
But yesterday, I picked up my mat and walked back through those doors. The teacher was one I knew, but not all that well, so I didn't have to worry about any looks of concern or having to explain anything. I could just be myself, not my RA. I gathered all my props, rolled out my mat, and then proceeded to take one of the best classes ever.
It was so nice to experience my body feeling good- not just ok, but genuinely good! And it was so lovely to do it in a big bright studio that smelled like incense with a group of other people! I admit I had a few moments of not being sure it was a good idea when we did a restorative downward facing dog pose towards the beginning of class. I still don't like to stay in that asana very long due to my wrists, but I decided to give it a try and see how it felt before I made any decisions, and you know what, it was fine. I was fine.
After that, it was pretty much bliss. I even managed to achieve that wonderful half-sleep/half-awake/slightly buzzed state during one of the poses, which made me really happy; ever since the RA showed up, I have had trouble reaching that state, no matter how long I hang out in a restorative pose.
I left the class feeling great. I have a feeling I'll be back.
One more piece of my life that I have reclaimed! Hurrah!