Coming Home to Yoga

Have you ever had these moments in your life where it felt like you were coming home, invisible arms are there to welcome you? It may not be a physical place, it may not be an emotional place but still it feels like you are welcomed in and it is comfortable and real and important. It is your place.

I have been practicing yoga since the 1970’s. Those early classes were quite interesting as the eastern Asian flavor of those classes were strong. I would practice faithfully for a time, sometimes a semester, sometimes for years and then it would be abandoned, although, obviously not forgotten, as I would return to it again.

Jim, my husband who died 5 1/2 years ago, and I practiced yoga for a number of years. We started with a private center that eventually closed and we did not practice much. One day Jim asked me if I wanted to take a yoga class at  Grossmont College. Jim was a dean at this school. He had heard that the teacher, Jennifer, was getting rave reviews. Once again I returned to yoga. We took a several semesters and yes the students were correct. Jennifer is a superb teacher.

We also belonged to they YMCA. One day, at our local class they had a guest instructor, Lisa. I realized I had met another extremely good yoga teacher. I immediately went home and told Jim. We began a regular Sunday morning practice at the McGrath YMCA, where Lisa is a regular teacher. Jim and I practiced yoga routinely until his death. We even did yoga in his hospital room.

Both of these women continue to be dynamic teachers. Even better, they are both my friends. After Jim died, Jennifer invited me to attend classes at the college when I felt up to it. I was always invited. She also took me, as her guest, to Rancho La Puerta. The Ranch is a spa just south of the border, in Mexico. I could practice yoga to my heart’s content and enjoy many other amenities of the spa. I felt loved and taken care of.

Lisa and I have remained in touch, although I no longer belong to the YMCA in San Diego County. I delight in our continued contact and remain inspired by her as a teacher and a friend.

As I have begun to travel more, yoga has gone from a regular practice to an infrequent one. I know I could practice on my own, yet I feel much more inspired when I take a class and practice with others. I have gotten lazy and dealing with depression last winter did not help. I preferred to hole up rather than venture out, even when I know yoga is something I love doing and knew it would help me feel more whole and complete.

Today I attended a yoga class at the Kula Wellness & Yoga Center. As I walked through the front door I felt like I had come home. It was warm and inviting and welcoming. The people and the teacher were glad to see me, even though it has been more than two years since I had been there. I felt like I belonged. The class was a mixed level class and focused more on poses than a flow. We took a short time to meditate and relax before and after class. The breathing exercises cleared my sinuses. There were people of all ages in attendance. My body was happy to stretch and get the kinks out. My spirit is extremely happy at the moment and I am generally very content this afternoon. When I practice yoga, the world looks just a bit brighter, even on a gray and somewhat rainy day.

Why is it that those good things I do for myself often get shoved to the side? Why do I postpone or put them off? Is it the human condition? Who knows. I often have to remind myself that it is OK to stop my day and go to class. There is nothing else that I may be doing, which cannot be put off for an hour or two so I can focus on all levels of my being by taking just one class. Slowing down is OK. Being aware is OK. Taking care of myself is OK and a must.

Today I bought a 5 class pass. Since I am going to be in NJ for a few more weeks, the pass will encourage me to return to Kula for more yoga so I can continue to feel happy and content and stretched out. On these gray days, I choose not to be on my bicycle or hiking when it is only 40 degrees out (brr), yoga is a good and thoughtful alternative for my whole being.

Once again I have returned home. Ahhhh…..


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