I’m Back! On the Mat

It’s been 3 long months of recovery and I had no idea how much tension my body was holding until tonight! As I set up my Mat tonight, the instructor came up to me and said, “I haven’t seen you for awhile. Where have you been?” Well I have been off of the Mat since November 22, 2016. Three months exactly. As I explained to her what surgery I had, she just cringed and said, “Do what you can and modify what you need to”…. sound advice to everyone. Always go at YOUR pace and modify what doesn’t feel good for YOUR body.

As I lay on my mat in Shavasana (Corpse pose), my mind was racing about what I have to do tonight and tomorrow, and next week…. Marita, our instructor, calmly says – “Just take in a big breath. Feel your belly rise and fall… calm your mind. Be present in the moment and feel your breath. As your belly rises and your breathing becomes rhythmic feel your body as it slowly sinks into your mat and everything releases.” OK … so now I just want to stay here in Corpse Pose and be just that… as I slowly start to fall asleep (which hasn’t come easy in the past couple of weeks)….. she then gradually raises her voice and asks the class to move your fingers and your toes and rotate your wrists and ankles…. dang! I have to wake up now….. Okay so now the head starts racing about where I am and what I have to do tonight, and tomorrow and next week….. Gesh, Anita calm down. Slow down your heart beat and relax for crying out loud.

Then, as IF she knows exactly what is going on in my head, Marita calmly says…. “For those of you who are not present in the room, give yourself this next hour to be mindful of your body, of where you are, and take the time to enjoy your practice. Give yourself this hour. I invite you to think about an intention for today’s practice. Is there anyone specific that you would like to dedicate your practice to today? Or is there any specific intention you have at this moment that you can take through your practice…..” I’m thinking Yes, ME. That’s why I am here for Me to release my tight muscles and get rid of the tension in my neck and my hips (by the way hips and neck are prime stress holders, so if your hips are tight and your neck doesn’t shoulder check well – your body is holding your stress in those lovely places).

Now that I have that straight… lets see what my 3 months of no Yoga practice has in store for me tonight. Thank goodness this is a mild stretch yoga and nothing more! First pose on our knees sitting down onto our feet….. Ya …. Nope….. that ain’t happening.

OK so modify….. moving into cross legged pose….. youzzer my hips are tighter than fiddle string! Okay breathe breathe…. feel the tension release breathe….

As we continue on with our practice – and my body is remembering!! Woo HOO!!! That muscle memory is an amazing thing. As we practice various skills, our motor neurons and brain have developed pathways that connect the dots more efficiently. Each time you practice the muscle memory kicks in – which is why for example you learned to ride a bike as a kid and haven’t been on a bike for years, it comes back just like that due to muscle memory.

By the end of the class – I was able to modify to make it work for my out of yoga shape body, I was able to stay in the moment for at least half of the class, I felt my muscle tension release somewhat, and I think I will sleep better tonight.

Tonight was a good reminder for me that I do need to take time out to be mindful, use breathing to relax and stop my mind from spinning, and stretch to release the tension that is building up and physically being stored within my body.

So good to be back on the Mat!