I used to dread summer, because it meant shorts and swim suits. I hated how I looked in both. Tennis skirts and badminton uniforms were different, but I always envied how some of the other girls on the team looked so much more lean and willowy.
I bought two new swimsuits recently - one for exercise, the other for sunbathing and beachwalking.
It surprised me when I put them on, and looked in the mirror - and liked how I looked. Really liked! I couldn’t think of anything negative while I twisted and turned and tested all the angles.
I didn’t look exactly like the mannequin or the model in the catalogue… For one thing, my torso isn’t very long, and for another, I have noticeable muscle and build in my legs, arms, and waist. But rather than thinking that I was fat, I saw the stocky build as a sign of strength and health.
I can’t wait to go to a pool party or to the beach, and enjoy my new summer wear!
Hey, what are you up to?
Reading, thinking about napping before I go to work.
Nothing much else.
Why do you ask?
Napping? You might as well sleep!
Let's talk later!
And then instead of waiting for another day, he called me, and we spent an hour on the phone talking about my recently-ended long distance relationship, about moving forward, about friendship after the fact and feelings that seem irrational but that are perfectly valid.
It felt so much better to hear someone knows me and cares about me tell me that I wasn't being unreasonable, and that it was normal to feel this way.
I have the greatest best friend. He always knows what to say, and he always listens to me. It's like that physical distance isn't between us at all.
I got one leg up into the pike position while attempting headstand, and managed to get the hang of somersaulting into inverted baddha konasana!
Of course, I tried to do it again, but I ran out of juice. Where’s a mana potion when you need one?
Note to self: don’t wait until after your second yoga class to try the difficult moves…
Six months later, I’m at the yoga studio almost every day of the week -
Monday night Candlelight Vinyasa (and sometimes Aerial Yoga),
Tuesday night Aerial Yoga,
Wednesday night Aerial Yoga (and sometimes Gentle Vinyasa),
Thursday night Level 2/3 Aerial Yoga,
Friday morning Aerial Yoga,
Saturday morning Gentle Vinyasa and Aerial Yoga.
We have in common our love of our yoga practices, of being grounded and looking for moments of peace in our lives.
We lust after yoga mats that we don’t need, our friends the block, the sandbag, and the strap.
There’s nothing quite like hanging upside down, and sighing as my spine stretches and decompresses.
And to be honest… there’s nowhere else I would rather be.
Why do I practice yoga? I’m still figuring that out, but there are many reasons - a place to ground and center, a time to focus inward, a love and passion that fills me and warms me like little else. Yoga keeps me honest about my capabilities, my weakness, my strength, and my struggle. For now, this is yoga in my present… who knows what yoga holds in my future?
This space and the people I have met here have become my community and my family.
And when I didn’t think my heart could fill any more with love, my studio’s June newsletter showed up in my inbox, with this note from one of my instructors, also the studio owner:
“Yvonne joined our studio about 6 months ago. It has been a jaw dropping experience for me to watch the amazing transformation in Yvonne. She first appeared in class as a quiet and sweet girl looking for a corner space, but if you have ever been to our studio you will know our teachers will find you and take care of you. The changes in Yvonne’s body was obvious, but the amazing changes took place deep inside of her as her smiles grew warmer and brighter from each visit. She over heard me talking about the need for another front desk manager, and volunteered herself to assist us for FREE. Her reason for offering her services was simply “I have received so much from The Yoga Studio community, it is time for me to give back”. She will be assisting us at the front desk and helping us with our newsletters! I have some much love and respect for Yvonne that I cannot possibly express it all in a newsletter, so you just have to come and meet her for yourself.”
The words stunned me - there’s so much love, so much joy, so much positive energy and welcoming. It’s one thing to know these things, but it’s always quite another to hear it, and read the words written from the heart.
And as if my heart couldn’t burst any more with pride, the studio owner also invited me to participate in the studio’s photoshoot project, for next year’s aerial calendar images and other promotional material.
And instead of feeling apprehensive, my first reaction was excitement and joy - because yoga is my favorite way to be beautiful and express the beauty of the human body.
All of them - Julie, Amber, Pik Chu, and Candace - have commented on the beauty of my changing practice and physical, spiritual, and emotional transformation since those first weeks in the studio. I can’t help but grin with pride, because I can feel those changes, too.
Ah, to be in love!