Yoga has been my exercise of choice the past two years. I had just started my first class when lockdown hit, and all in-person activities ceased. Thankfully yoga transferred well online, so I didn’t miss out. I felt comfortable in my own space without others too close to judge my awkward movements and by the time classes were back in-person again I had taken to completing them in my pajamas.
During the summer, classes were held outdoors on the local soccer pitch and when schools finished up for the holidays, kids were allowed to join. It was relaxed and non-judgmental. No one batted an eyelid when kids barked at downward dog, in fact the kids were much better at a lot of the poses. I was surprised by how well they took to the practice until my daughter informed me that they do class yoga and meditation at school.
There’s something, peaceful and grounding about outdoor yoga, the cool breeze whispering along your face and the grass crunching under your feet. I became aware of the distant hum of workers and the chattering of birds. I didn’t expect to feel so ‘at one’ with nature as I did, considering our location was so ordinary. I forgot my moves may not have been as elegant as others, in fact I forgot all about other people, the relaxed environment accepting everyone as they are just as nature does.
Once autumn heralded the end to the good weather, online took over, so back to pyjamas, muting, adjusting camera angles, and drowning out household noises for an hour of stretching, building strength and flexibility to having the best night’s sleep of the week.
January saw changes to lockdown rules and in-person classes were live again so feeling optimistic I booked a term. As night one loomed, I started feeling anxious. Was it too soon to be in the same room as others? Would it be awkward and claustrophobic? It had been two years since I’d last been in a class with other people. Nervously I hopped into the car, regretting my impulsive decision. Online was so much easier. You didn’t have to leave the house and go out in the cold, dark night.
With trepidation I entered the class and took my spot. My clumsy fingers took forever to roll out my mat. Our instructor mentioned how overwhelming it felt for her to host a live class where she could interact with people and my anxiety melted away and I settled into the session. There were giggles when someone kicked a potted plant and by shavasana I was so relaxed I had to stop myself from falling asleep.
Heading out, we all chatted, overcome with emotion. It had been so long since our last in-person class and it felt so good. To be able to connect with others in person was like a kick of adrenaline and I flew home, my heart lighter and grateful for just being alive. Roll on next week’s class.