I have been spending a lot of time at my beloved Beloved Yoga studio recently. A true enticer for me of late has been the warm toasty yoga room on these very cold mornings. I have been doing yoga on and off for a decade; this spring I started up again and I always wonder “why would I ever stop?”
The teachers are fabulous; they are so well educated and proficient at their skill. I have learned so much about the body, the mind, my own strength and potential. I love realizing how I struggled with a certain pose back in the summer that comes so easily to me now and seeing how my endurance has really improved from these months of practicing yoga.
The typical class is ninety minutes. The teachers often give a message in the beginning of class about balance, being in the present or any number of possibilities essential to both being on the yoga mat and living our daily lives. We then warm up, progress into a pretty intense flow workout where I love to really get my sweat on. The class then cools down a bit where we do a variety of still poses and balances. At the end we settle in to shavasana where we lie still for about five minutes and relax.
This ‘relax’ thing is harder than one might think. When they say relax, they really mean relax; not plan your grocery list, itemize your work to-do tasks or think about calling your mother-in-law. One of my favorite teachers encouraged me to try to feel my heart beat while in this pose. When I am struggling to still my mind, I often focus on his suggestion and am able to slow down and focus on, well, just nothing, which is the intended goal.
As I get in my car to drive home, I always feel really great. Each muscle has had a chance to be stretched or worked so my whole body feels wrung out. And, my mind is
always usually perfectly still and calm as well (last week during shavasana, I did have a panic moment when I remembered that my quarterly taxes were due, but otherwise, I tend to achieve a very calm state).
One day the week before Christmas I had gone to one of my favorite morning classes before a client. I rushed home, showered and got to the office while still maintaining my post-yoga calm.
My client arrived in the throes of the pre-Christmas frenzy. There was talk of wrapping and shopping and cooking and extended family. She was feeling anxious and stirred up and I listened. I was still and slow, I responded calmly and from a very grounded spot. As the session progressed, my client began to slow down. She became more calm and peaceful; her speaking slowed and her anxiety decreased.
At the end she said “and this is why I scheduled a pre-Christmas Laurie appointment” (she may have even blurted out “you are a genius” at one point)(to which I just laughed and thanked the yoga teacher).
After the session, us both feeling very peaceful, I shared my “genius” with her.
I told her about my yoga class and my enhanced calm during this particular therapy session. I have known her for years; her sessions are generally on a different day when yoga is not part of my morning. We were both aware and impressed with how the yoga effected not just my state of being, but also my therapy presence and ultimately her state of being.
I have been very conscious of this in my subsequent sessions with all of my clients. I am really aware of channeling this inner yoga calm into the therapy room. What an amazing tool and quite the testament to mindfulness and the calm that is yoga; it does work!