I have always ‘known’ of the existence of Yoga and have read up on many of its benefits. I
however, had never tried it before. Was it something I viewed as necessary? Not really, but I
could locate its benefits within the bigger picture of healing, coupled with practices like
journaling, meditation, breathwork, clean eating etc. This ‘easy’ locating of and accepting of
Yoga as a beneficial practice came easy to me as a psychologist for obvious reasons. When
my big sister Nana started her own journey, I was filled with immense pride because firstly,
aesthetically, she made it look easy. That was my first major mistake. I have viewed Yoga as
an easy manipulation of body, occupation of space and posturing of limbs. I never thought
that it took way more effort, grit, and determination to get into these positions. Anyway, I
finally overcame procrastination and joined Nana for a session; marking the 1 st session ever
doing Yoga in my life (and what I hope will be genesis of many more).
Nana is pleasant, visibly so. She is bubbly and exudes a positive energy that precedes and
greets you before she opens her mouth. This trait itself, made me relax and immediately
know I will have a ‘fun’ time. She offered me a cute mat, and water. Her studio has space,
and props as well plants sitting pretty in a corner. I like plants, and this made me feel even
more comfortable. She had previously tipped me on what to wear, and to bring.
On the day, Nana fully explained that she will demand my full presence in this space, which
was a serious point of contestation in my body and mind. I struggled with concentration and
bringing all of me to the practice especially when we started. I kept wondering “Am I doing
it right? Why does it hurt? Did yogis lie to me? Why is she doing it easily? Why is my leg
refusing to go up? Ouch! Is that my neck? Did I break my rib? I cannot breathe”. These
occupied my mind, and therefore made my flow quite hard and cranky. However, Nana
talked me through it, and eased my mind with not only a soothing voice, but also with her
own hands and some props (blocks) to help me to get into position. She also reassured me
that it is ok to look and observe what she is doing, for me to get it!
I had many unexpected emotions visit me; apart from wobbling on one foot as I’d struggle
to figure out poses, I felt some sense of ‘fear’ arising from the fact that my mind was racing.
I became aware of my lack of full presence, and it made me feel uncomfortable. My body
also kept refusing to cooperate, and I panicked at the idea that my body is not particularly
fit in terms of its ability to stretch. It was interesting to notice that there was more ‘effort’
from my body to tense up. I became aware of this fact as Nana reminded me to ‘Relax your
face” and that is when I felt my jaws unclench; something I did not previously feel.
With Nana repeatedly reminding me to intentional breath and repeat the poses, I eventually
fell into a rhythm and flow. The voices in my head somewhat subsided and although the
body was screaming ‘pain!’ I appreciated that I could sit through the pain and shut the
voices down. I became aware of the falling in and out of my breath, and I felt better. I also
felt some tension rise on my back in particular, neck and shoulders as well as waist area.
Before I knew it, our session was ending, and I was in the savasana pose, which Nana
explained as the ‘Final resting pose’. This was my favorite part of the session, as I felt like I
had been going through a massage, and I had met parts of my body that I did not know
where carrying a tension and heaviness. Will I be doing yoga again with Nana? The answer is
a resounding Yes!