This weekend is Easter. Which always seems to mark, for me, the official start to Spring. Finally some warmer weather and the smell of Earth blowing in through my open windows! Finally more daylight! Easter weekend always feels festive to me. Not just because of the long weekend with an extra day off, but because everything seems to be waking up around me. Plus - I enjoy that some people refer to this week as "Holy Week". It's got a nice ring to it.
Spring inevitably always brings more people out to Yoga as well. The spring sessions seem to be filled with lots of new faces. Almost like people begin to unconsciously respond to the Earth stirring and rejuvenating around them...like something in their soul starts to urge them to get moving and re-invent themselves just like nature is doing. I love this. I absolutely LOVE seeing people trying Yoga for the first time.
In the beginning I know a lot of people are a bit lost in a Yoga class. I know I was when I first started! To this day I remember one of my early teachers ~ Carol Erickson in Nelson BC. I joined one of her spring sessions and felt completely overwhelmed for the first month or so. The class was large and everyone around me seemed so damned flexible and, well, I don't know - enlightened or something. I remember sweating and shaking and feeling like my legs were going to give out from underneath me. While everyone else just looked all dewy and relaxed. I remember specifically one class where Carol came to me during Prasarita Padottannasana (wide legged forward bend), and pressed me deeper into the pose cooing the whole time in her soft silky voice "it's ok...you can go much farther...much much farther." I swear I felt like my knee was going to give out while my hamstrings simultaneously ripped from their insertions. In my head I was thinking "wtf? How much further can I possibly go!?? This woman's gotta be off her rocker."
Now, I fold into that posture feeling nothing but a deep calm sense of utter relief. But back then - it actually kinda scared the bejeepers outta me! In the early days of my yoga practice there was always this sense of wondering whether my body could handle it or not. I felt almost like I wasn't sure I could trust my body not to give out, or give up, on me. Among other things, yoga taught me to trust myself. Really truly trust myself and my own body at the most base fundamental levels. Looking back it was as if I really had no idea of my own strength or resiliency. Since then - there's been many injuries, several illnesses, and countless trials and tribulations. All of which I somehow survived and came out stronger as a result of.
So if you're a newbie to yoga ~ try to remember everyone (including your teacher) had to start somewhere. You're never too old, too fat, too skinny or too far gone to begin to create positive change. Start wherever you are and work from there. Try to relax and enjoy the process. Be curious instead of intimidated. It's absolutely amazing what can be accomplished when you start to really listen to those internal nudgings that are trying to lead you to your most excellent self.