Sunday, May 23, 2010
As if life weren't challenging enough... just coming out of a divorce, buying a house on short sale and trying to start a business... I am now starting a regular yoga practice, to compliment my regular Qigong practice. It is actually because of of all these stressful changes in my life that I'm starting a yoga practice. My experience with yoga has been limited and misunderstood.
At one time I thought yoga was only for flexible people. I've since learned that yoga meets you were you're at, as you grow it changes.... much like the coaching process. My first real experience with yoga was several years ago when I was very overweight. I went to yoga because I had a groin pull.
I was hoping to relax the muscles and gain some flexibility. The class I attended was a "gentle" class. It was a nice atmosphere very calming and soothing. But to me it was just stretching, I didn't get that there was anything more to it, that energy was part of the picture.
My experience with Qigong on the other hand has been all about energy. I had some resistance to the exercises in the beginning. I felt silly doing them. My brain (ego) would not shut up. I had so much inner turmoil the first few classes, it's amazing I stayed with it. At the same time I was drawn to the class. The discomfort I felt during class mirrored the discomfort I felt within myself.
My Sifu, <a href="http://www.worldclassima.com/qigong.htm">Dan Ferrera,</a> a very intuitive man, realized this and explained how we were cultivating energy with the exercises. Over time I was able to allow myself to enjoy the process and tell my brain to shut up. I have problems with my knees and I'm not very flexible so Qigong is very "body friendly" for me, no demanding postures, just breathing, gentle movements and cultivating energy.
Qigong is like a moving meditation and through my practice over the past two years I have experienced bliss states, both in class and meditating on my own. Practicing Qigong has rearranged my psyche and gotten me through the most stressful period of my life with relative ease. I expect that practicing yoga will only add to my inner peace and balance.
Practicing yoga is a stretch for me (no pun intended). My 54 year old body groans with the postures. My knees especially, present a challenge. I have been blessed to find <a href="http://www.livoniayogacenter.com/">a good yoga instructor or two.</a> Instructors who help me make proper accommodations for my knees and then allow me to process through the class. Instructors who understand and teach the energetic connections with yoga.
After this morning's class I chatted with my instructor, <a href="http://www.sattva-yoga-center.com/index.html">Chuck Mallur at Sattva Yoga Center</a>, briefly, and learned a great deal. He said I got through the class well. He said to remember to follow the breath. Breathing first, postures second... I confessed that I've been doing it the other way around, he chuckled and said most people do. It dawned on me that my practices, both Qigong and yoga are metaphors for my life...
Qigong has taught me that there is so much more to life, to humans, to everything, than meets the eye. It has taught me that we are all one, all connected. It taught me how to get in touch with the subtle energy that surrounds us and connects us. But more than anything I think Qigong has helped me connect to myself and accept who I am.
And yoga where I'm striving to get into postures and forgetting my breath... Could that possibly be a reflection of the crazy driven life I've lead; where I've put everything and everyone before my own self care? I realize what I want from yoga... I want it to be easy... and of course it's not going to be. But like life, it doesn't have to be difficult if you can learn to go with the breath; go with the flow. Breathing first, then postures! So I will practice, and "be" with my body and learn what it has to teach me.