Driven by kernels of cautious optimism, I make my way to yin practice with Vanessa. Coincidentally, I am reminded of university as I settle in on the mat and Vanessa tell us that today’s practice will be enhanced by mantras which she will share with us as we get into each pose. I’m ready to learn, and take mental notes.
Having walked through confusion for some time now, looking for my bearings in every nook and cranny, I think about what clarity looks like. It has been some time since chaos has become the status quo for my mind, and as soon as Sara speaks those words, I begin to actively seek out, and even crave, some stillness.
This class is a level 2, which I note passively when booking it, and then note very actively when practicing it. It’s hard, or the better word, advanced. I am by far the least experienced yogi on the mat that evening, but I am not deterred. It becomes a true test of inward focus, competing only with myself, but even then it’s not a competition.
I try to feel better about myself, reminding myself that getting onto a mat, at 6:30 no less, is an achievement in itself. I tell myself what I’d tell a friend: Doing something is better than doing nothing
With Abla wordlessly by my side, and me by hers, we’re both moving with a new kind of energy. An energy that represents time we have generously given ourselves without conditions or guilt. Few things feel better.
I think about this and have an aha moment. I had always considered an intention the verbalisation of what I want to get out of my practice once I’m on the mat, but had never considered the subtlety in the question which asks the bigger question: Why are you even here to begin with?
Out of the five other students that morning, I know two, and my impostor syndrome intensifies. Am I a person who has friends who are up this early, in addition to being up this early themselves?! And if so, have I been wrong about who I am? I push the big questions away; it’s 6:30am after all.
Restorative yoga is one of those things that can be difficult to justify doing. For one, classes can get expensive, and the effects of the class are not always felt immediately or in the same way you would a flow, or even yin, class. To be fair, to the uninitiated, it can feel like lying around and doing nothing. One could do that for free on one’s couch.
I am new to Vanessa’s class, but not new to yin, a practice I enjoy so much that I almost feel like it’s cheating to count it in. But a surprise awaits me.
I make it to the mat, which is 90% of the challenge, as I learn the hard way today. Before I have time to think that much, we’ve taken our first breaths and I’m in the first downward-dog of this challenge.