I opened the door to the yoga studio with trepidation. This room is like a church to me in many ways, a place where I focus on all of me- body, mind, and spirit, and it had been seven weeks since I last entered the hot, dark basement studio to practice. On normal Saturday mornings we are up before dawn and head to the YMCA very early so that Dan can prepare for his class. I help him set up the room before I head upstairs to jump on the treadmill…but these past seven weeks have not been normal, and I am only now beginning to feel as if I’m truly regaining my physical self again.
Dan welcomed me back at the beginning of class to the cheers of my yoga family. I was touched at their kindness and so excited to be on my mat again, but also feeling a lot of anxiety- could I make it through the class? I have been walking miles each day, but yoga is a challenge of a different kind…especially for the core muscles, and my recently-hysterectomy-d mid section is still pretty weak from not being allowed to use those muscles for almost two months.
A girl and her yoga mat…Okay, okay- a middle-aged girl and her yoga mat.
I held in there pretty well until the last part of class where Dan always has us hold a one minute plank. Total core. I used to be able to hold the straight-arm plank with no problem, but this time I made it a few seconds and collapsed to the floor, my abdominals giving up. I was just about in tears realizing how much strength I had lost since my surgery and how far I have to go to get back to the level of fitness I want for myself. That’s okay, though; I did the very best that I could and I was there, physically and mentally, taking in the many gifts of yoga. By the end of class I was exhausted but elated. I did it. My yoga mat is a teacher, a touchstone, and always will be that for me. It humbles me and reminds me that I have an inner strength that I can always call upon. It holds the sweat of my efforts, my dreams of what I hope to be, and cushions my body against the hard bamboo floor of the studio. I know that I will conquer this hurdle and become strong again. No, scratch that…I will become strongER. I’ve done it before, and nothing can stop me when I am determined. For now, I’ll follow my dog’s example and keep on practicing my yoga. Good things are ahead, one day at a time.