Last year I bought a Groupon for 10 yoga classes in one of my local yoga studios. I recently redeemed it and this past week I attended my second yoga class there. I don’t practice yoga as frequently as I would like to, but I’m familiar with the terminology and comfortable with most yoga poses (except headstands, I’m scared of headstands). It always surprises me how different yoga practices can be, not only in their style, but also the style of the person teaching it. In my journeys I have tried many a Groupon yoga class and I have encountered so many differences, but what stays constant is how I feel after a class. I feel relaxed, I feel strong, I feel like I can bend over backwards.
Usually, I try to attend yoga foundations courses. In foundation classes you tend to go over all the basics and the instructors always point out how to make minor adjustments to do the pose correctly. With my schedule this semester, the class that works for me in this studio is a flow class. Yoga flow is all about movement and breathing. The two classes I have attended have been different, but have focused on creating a repetition, a flow while breathing. This last class we did this breathing exercise where you inhaled and raised your arms up and when you exhale you bring your arms fast to your belly area and release all your air. It reminded me of raising a sword and stabbing yourself. I didn’t realize I needed to do that until I did that first stab. So much pent up energy, anxiety was released with each air jab. After doing a couple of these breathing exercises, I was conscious of my intention for my practice; to release my anxiety.
I had never practiced yoga with so strong of a direction into why I was practicing in the first place. For some reason, that particular day everything kind of clicked and I worked through the practice knowing what I was trying to accomplish. At some point in the middle of the practice once we had done a few sequences of standing up, folding, downward dog, we moved on to this pose were you want your chest to touch the ground. Every time we would have to do this she would say something along the lines of “let your heart melt to the ground”. Open heart, melted heart are pretty common phrases in yoga, but having a clear intention in my practiced really made me think about the phrase “melted heart”. For me, it meant release, a melting heart; a heart that flows, holds no tension. As I would do the pose I would think of my heart flowing, releasing tension. It was so effective that even days later I say the phrase “melted heart” and visualize the same thing. It brought to perspective the power words can have when you state them with clear intentions. It might seem silly, but for me it was real, it was exactly what I needed.