Stretching My Mind

It’s been a week since I met my fellow tribe members and things are starting to open up for me. Unlike previous attempts at yoga, I now feel a little more comfortable sweating in a room full of yogis. One thing I’ve noticed is that yoga actually makes me feel great! Before I started this teacher training, I felt as if I was in a room of professional stretchers. Side bend here, breath there… relax your shoulders and release…release what?  But something has changed for me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. My energy feels a little more potent and my thinking just a little more clear. Heck, I almost feel like hugging someone! But let’s not get carried away!

Another benefit to the teacher training is my yoga vocabulary is expanding. Take the word Namaste for instance. During my initial attempts at yoga, the class would end with a cult-like reiteration of the word Namaste and then everyone would bow to the ground in what looked like prayer. I thought we were stretching? Much to this cave-man’s surprise, it’s actually a beautiful saying and meaning. In a nutshell it means, we are all connected at some level and through that connection we are one. So, when we say Namaste at the end of the practice, we are actually acknowledging and honoring our group existence and connection.  Fake gun to head, pull trigger…mind blown. Now I’m not one to be easily impressed, but there is something inspiring about acknowledging a shared connection and feeling the connection to your fellow man. In a way, I feel like the same connection I feel with my family, can be expanded to the people in my class and even community.

Another term I learned is AUM (om), which is good because from day one, Elka has ended class with this chant of sorts. And while it’s cool to sit in a room with everyone harmonizing this simple term, it’s also frustrating not to understand what we are doing. It’s also good because, just going through the motions to fit in doesn’t suit me very well. Here I am, trying to sit crossed legged, arms to the side with my finger and thumb touching like I’m on the cover of  some yoga magazine, chanting a word I don’t even understand. For all I knew, I could be ordering the lunch special at a local Indian restaurant. Yeah, I’ll take two AUM’s and a side of Namaste to go please. Do I want to eat here, Na-ama-go! 

ganesha aumAUM is a powerful word that has been used for ages and when spoken, believed to tap into that cosmic energy surrounding the intention of the word. The intention behind AUM is the movement from creating, sustaining and dissolving in a never ending process of life and death. So in yoga, stepping onto your mat is the beginning of creation, then we sustain life through movement and end the process in the fetal position waiting to be reborn. Powerful stuff if you ask me. This course is definitely opening me up to the idea that we are all connected in some way. What’s even more intriguing, is I’ve always felt a sense of connection, but never had definitions or tools to make sense of my feeling.

We are definitely NOT just stretching.




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