Yesterday I found similarity in contrast. My trainer brought in boxing gloves in our morning session and I experienced my first restorative yoga class that night.
What are your feelings about boxing?
My first husband loved watching boxing. However, when he turned the channel to catch a championship or Olympic match, I walked out of the room. When I had stayed to watch, I felt every jab, cut, and broken nose as the fighters in the rink fought to annihilate their opponent. It seemed barbaric to want to see something so foreign to me.
What about boxing for exercise?
I have complete confidence in my trainer’s ability to sense my strength and my weakness. He will count off the bicep curls or tricep extensions, watching my form, determination, and sweat dripping from my brow. If there is any hint of going too far, he backs off, ending the reps with a high five. He knows I give 110% and I know he’ll protect me from my enthusiasm.
But seeing the boxing gloves in Darrin’s hand, I was curious how the training session would progress. He gave me explicit direction and soon I was completely comfortable in the dance of shadow boxing. Even the roadwork portion had a rhythm that felt easy and natural. In the thirty minute aerobic portion of my workout my opinion of boxing evolved from extreme distaste to curious fascination.
My life yoga experience
Similarly, my experience with yoga has been a love-hate relationship. During my teenage years, I went to Hatha Yoga at a local recreation center and loved it. I bought a mat, found a book with illustrations and practiced on my own, even mastering the headstand pose. My enthusiasm dwindled when the classes stopped. The yoga mat disappeared from my life.
In my fifties, I picked it up again during a lunchtime opportunity at work. Once again, the classes dried up.
Then I found Dahn Yoga in 2015. I really liked the activation of the body’s energy center prior to the actual yoga and shared the techniques with my mother. You know the scenario. I fell out of the practice. But here’s where my mother and I are very different. She still practices Dahn Yoga every day at the age of ninety-one.
Now, yoga has stepped into my life again. During my retreat last month in the Poconos, each morning our classroom was transformed into a yoga studio led by Kristina Coll, one of the retreat leaders. I participated in every session, adjusted the pose to my ability and found it both enjoyable and invigorating. When I heard about the restorative yoga class, I immediately signed up, curious and open-minded about this new-to-me yoga.
What is restorative yoga?
Restorative Yoga is the practice of asanas, each held for longer than in conventional classes, often with the support of props such as folded blankets, to relax the body. During my class with Kelly Andrews I felt a calmness in my body and soul. Now I see how easily her HearthMath system can fit into my existing meditation practice.
My takeaway from yesterday’s similarity in contrast is a reminder that judgement reduces my quality of life. Openness and curiosity lift my mood and elevate my life in all ways. I encourage you to look at new experiences as opportunities to grow.
If you’re in Central Florida on December 15, 2019, I’m teaching an Introduction to Japanese Meditation class. Stay tuned for more information or even better, sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’ll never miss a blog or an announcement.