My Yoga Space
I live in a decidedly non-yoga town. Oh, it is much better than it used to be. At least there are yoga studios now even in my small town but compared to the choices in Alexandra’s Southern California town, it is still pretty sparse. Alexandra goes to a studio, one of many, that has three classes every hour of the day with an array of styles and levels. Here in East Tennessee, you might get a few types of classes a week. When I first got interested in yoga in the 90’s, there was literally nothing except one woman who taught a disorganized class and thought it was a good idea to start with headstands—I only lasted one class. Or I could do a video tape. But who wants to do the same thing every time. Then of course there was the cultural disdain for yoga. There was an incident many years ago where someone came into a yoga class to announce that the participants were devil worshiping. Many people in my community still struggle with the spiritual origins and so most classes focus on the physical benefits and even sometimes use Christian theology overlay to make it more acceptable.
Finally, about 8 years ago, I found a teacher, Lisa, who taught one night a week and was starting a beginner’s class. I have to admit the first few months were pretty much torture. But since I don’t start things unless I plan on finishing, I kept with my once a week class with Lisa for many years. Not only was I late to start yoga, I have several obstacles that have made yoga a challenge. I will never be able to go to one of Alexandra’s classes and do a full routine—it just isn’t possible. I have my own accommodations that I have learned because over 30 years ago I permanently injured my left elbow in a fall and can no longer put much weight on it. Therefore, I can do no downward facing dog, plank or table. Try doing a regular yoga class without those very common poses—it is a challenge.
Lisa stopped teaching a couple of years ago and I was busy with school, so I started to do yoga in my family room with the help of Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. The price is right, no long commute from my rural home and the level is just right for my decidedly Paralympic yoga accommodations. I’m quite happy with where my yoga has evolved. It will always be a gentle practice and advanced poses will never be achieved but I’m really OK with that. There is always a place for everyone and every level, even those of us who have physical limitations. There are still great benefits to finding what works and keeping with it even when it isn’t easy.
I’ve learned to accept my limitations. It would be nice if I could embrace them, but acceptance is good. I’ve accepted my limitations in other areas of my life too. I will never be a great pianist or a star academic. I’m not a best-selling novelist and I can’t draw at all. But I’m know that working with my limitations is part of life and I can enjoy these things even if I’m not stellar at them. They serve my life. I will continue my gentle yoga and take leisurely walks in the woods or around the lake, enjoying my life without the stress of a goal. My effort is enough to keep me healthy, body and soul.