We inhaled, reaching arms overhead, just as a warm breeze rushed toward our faces. The scent of the river entered my nostrils and the sides of my mouth turned up. My legs were positioned in Warrior I without any discomfort. I was doing it. I was practicing yoga again.
Quite honestly, I expected my post-surgery break from activity to be shorter. I don’t want to cause harm by overdoing it, but that has also fed a fear to not try. Wedding planning quite easily fills my free evenings when I would be running or taking a yoga class. Even when I’ve psyched myself up during the day to try a home practice or to put some air in my bike tires and hit the trail (as approved by my physical therapist), I decide to make a “quick stop” at Homegoods and the next thing I know, we’re eating a late dinner and crashing on the couch to talk about the beautiful baskets I found for the hotel bathroom. No time for a posture or attempt to get my heart rate up. I’m starting to understand how all the sedentary people in the world cannot get started with exercise. I’ve honestly never understood that before.
So when I saw a tweet about a free yoga class on the Charles River, I got that feeling that suggests perfection. A great day and time for my schedule. A teacher from a studio where I’ve wanted to practice. No pressure to stay if my knee signaled to stop. I spread my mat on the edge of the grassy area and strolled over to introduce myself to the teacher. This is something that I always feel funny doing then later regret that I didn’t. I’m not the best at networking. But on this day, the conversation easily flowed about injuries and listening to your body. He was a nurse and trusted me to modify myself. I barely had to though. I tried postures that I wouldn’t have on my own at home…and found that childs pose and garland (squat) pose were the only ones that required too much flexing for my current range of motion. It was invigorating.
I tried to be realistic, waiting days for any repercussions to hit. None did. So I went to another free outdoor class a few days later. Again, most of the sequences were in reach for me and I didn’t experience pain after. I haven’t rushed into a studio yet, but these free outdoor classes have ignited my home practice. Starting my day with some sun salutations and big breaths really do lessen the anxiety that started to build up in me recently. Practicing with a group of people on a beautiful late summer evening adds to that feeling of peace that I’ve been looking to tap into during stressful times and had been unable to find. It’s the difference between telling people my knee will be fine and really knowing, feeling that it will be fine…and so will I.