I showed up, in the condition I was currently in, which didn't feel particularly pretty.
It was that condition where you want to hide from the world, pull the sheets over your head and wait until it all passes.
I was unsure of what to do, but I knew I needed yoga.
The class was an advanced vinyasa flow, not really the class my body was up for, but I knew I could count on this teacher to hold the type of space I was in.
I threw my week-old dirty hair up in a bun and grabbed whatever resembled yoga clothing. I wasn't the social butterfly that usually shows up to the studio. I was soft and reserved. I had been crying on my way to class, just feeling overwhelmed by all the movement around me this past week.
We opened with breath and stillness... My body needed this. I hadn't been breathing very consciously this week or checking in with my body. As things started to heat up, my body said it needed to cool down. The room around me was in a beautiful flow and I quieted the voice that reactively said, "you must flow with the rest"...
I bent my right knee and placed it on the mat in front of me, back leg outstretch behind, prepping for the one legged pigeon pose. I wiggled a little to position my hips and felt the repercussions of a week spent stressfully typing at a desk. I took a deep breath and with my exhale melted into all the sweet spaces in my body that were ready to sink in.
I dropped my temple to the mat and created a soft gaze.
It was beautiful. I could see a line of yogis making their way into Dancers pose. One arm outstretched reaching ahead and the other gripping their back foot for support. Each person doing it a little different but painting this extraordinary art piece I got to witness. Though I wasn't in the physical space to dance alongside the community, I felt it, I borrowed, I enjoyed.
With each deep breath; my emotional, physical and mental stress softened. I once would have worried that I was not on the same path as those around me, but my hips felt too yummy to care. This continued as I took my sweet time to switching sides. This time my resting view was of one woman. I know this woman. I see her every time. She modifies everything and always goes at her own pace. She is older and definitely wiser.
I was in-between... In the transition from someone that pushes themselves past the comfort zone a little too aggressively and into someone that uses their wisdom and internal knowledge to go at their own pace.
It's a practice. Like the wise woman to my second side, if we show up enough to our life practice, we learn the modifications, we find the pace and flow that supports us in the present moment. There will always be moments where we want to stay in bed a little longer and the practice will let us know when its time to push ourselves to get out and share that moment with others. We surround ourselves with a strong compassionate community and we can grow.
Written By: Cara Chandler (RYT 200 LA Yoga teacher, Writer, Entrepreneur and World Traveler)
Once married to her job and using unhealthy means to support her path, Cara decided to make a change for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. She obtained her 200 hour YTT in Nicaragua, and furthered her studies to Ayurveda. This lit a fire within her passion to live a healthy lifestyle while helping others do the same. Her goal is to take yoga off the mat and onto the world.
Cara currently lives and teaches yoga in Venice, CA, runs her own business and keeps her adventurous side alive by taking frequent trips to new places.