I have many titles to my name- mother, writer, wife, sister, daughter, friend…… While at a full moon yoga class at the beginning of February, my teacher called us yogis. Yogi? Me a yogi? I LOVE the sound of that! This past Monday, our teacher told a few newcomers to look to myself and two friends for guidance if they get lost. I LOVED being able to help them just as others have been there to guide me!
I’ve been what I would call a yoga on an offer. Years and years ago, AJ and I would pick random times when we felt sore or wanted to do something besides running, riding or swimming and spend 45 minutes or so watching the one yoga DVD we own. I did some classes at our rec center in Erie, but I never felt comfortable. Emma, AJ and I have done it from time to time at home on our own. Emma and I even did a yoga class at Great Wolf Lodge together last winter.
This is how becoming a yogi all began……. A few weeks ago, a friend (thank you, Micah) put up a Facebook post about trying out a yoga class at Studio Love in Erie. Three of us decided to join her for a class focused on Vinyasa/Yin Yoga. We all left in a blissful state. We all decided to do the introductory month for $39. Now, we have a group text going about who is going to yoga when and scratching our heads on how we could make a monthly membership work financially. The good thing is I think we all figured it out!
Yoga compliments many of the things I am finally taking the time to do to take care of my emotional wellbeing. When I leave a class, I feel more at peace with difficult things that have happened in my life. I’ve been able to overlook things that would have bothered me in the past. My overall mood has improved while my patience in all areas of my life has also improved. As my therapist puts it, “We are so in tune with our minds, but we have lost that mind and body connection that yoga brings.”
I feel stronger climbing and more relaxed skiing. I’ve found it easier to fall asleep. I feel overall I have more energy throughout the day. I am less achy and less tense.
Even if I can’t do all the poses, needs props to help me get into position or if I fall over while trying to hold my balance, I never feel like I don’t belong. Studio Love is an incredibly accepting and loving environment. The teachers and fellow yogis make you feel that you belong there.
I am starting to LOVE myself again- something I haven’t felt in a long time.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few basic poses that open up the heart chakra. These are some of my favorites!
How to: Lie flat on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. Rotate your thighs so they come inward. Your elbows should be next to your shoulders and forearms. Take a breath and lengthen your tailbone while you lift your torso and head off the floor. Round your belly towards your back. Take five to ten breaths and release.
Cat-Cow Pose (Chakravakasana)
How to: Begin on your knees with your hands directly under your shoulders. Knees should be under your hips. Lift your back and arch. Your gaze should be down. Return to a neutral tabletop pose (starting pose) and inhale. Lift your chest towards the ceiling while your belly sinks towards the floor. Slowly lift your head and look forward.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
How to: Stand tall. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on your right calf or right inner thigh. Bring your hands to heart. If you want more of a challenge, lift your hands above your head with your palms face out. Breath and stay here for a few moments. Reach down and bring your foot back to the floor. Repeat with the other side.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
How to: Lower your back to the floor. Support your head with a bolster or blanket if needed. Take your upper thighs into your hands and slowly press your outer thighs away from your torso. Your knees should be pointing away from your hips. Feet should be together (think of doing a butterfly pose lying down). Your hands should be placed on the floor angled at your sides at about 45 degrees with your palms up. Stay in this pose from one to ten minutes breathing while you maintain the pose. To easily get out of the pose, press your thighs back together and roll to one side before lifting your chest and head back off the ground.
How to: Begin by sitting on your heels. Place your palms flat on the floor as you lean back. Ideally, your fingertips will be pointing away about eight to ten inches behind you. While pressing your hands into the ground, lift your chest, arch your back and press your hips into your heals. You can lower your head behind you to increase the stretch. Breath. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds and then slowly lift your torso and head up.