I had plans this summer. Yoga plans. I knew it was going to be a summer of travel and that I’d have to take my yoga practice on the road. in order to show up to the mat regularly. Unfortunately, I managed neither of these things this past summer.So there I was last June, dutifully tucking my yoga mat into the already jam-packed van and, at the time, I didn’t even view it as a hopeful act. It was just another thing I’d obviously need on the road and so I obviously needed to find a way to fit in the car. But then the actual travel came with my entourage of husband, kids, dog, minivan and lots of miles to cover. My plans of yoga on the road dissipated rather quickly. I went from mid-June to late August with nary a sun salutation. Although I did extensively employ my yoga breathing skills on several occasions involving sibling squabbles, misread maps, unexpected road construction, and a carsick dog.

I travel for a living, and I know by now that after a long trip away there is always a period of reentry and adjustment. I’ve gotten better at recognizing it and being kinder to myself and my family as we shift back into our normal gears of everyday life. I credit yoga for that. Yoga is full of off-the-mat side effects and connections.

Years ago, I purchased a magnet in a bookshop (pictured above) that reads, simply:  BEGIN ANYWHERE.  It’s a quote from John Cage, an experimental composer/musician/artist. The simplicity of the quote spoke to me years ago for different reasons than it does now.  Cage’s life and work were about all sorts of new beginnings and, also, disruptions.  His work explores silence and dissonance, what happens in between.

I have long held to the tendency of waiting for things to be right or settled in order to begin. I’ve long done this “waiting” in many areas of my life and I’ve certainly done it with yoga. Of course, all it serves to do is keep me from beginning. In the past, especially, I remember feeling like I needed to build up my strength or my stamina or my wardrobe before attending a class. But, much like the message on my fridge, I’ve heard the teachers at Flow say something along the lines of: you’re here, you’ve showed up, work with what you have, with where you’re at.  The result is Flowgis are pushed on the mat, physically and mentally, but also reminded to be where they’re at, right now. Not where they want to be, or will be, or even where they have been. It’s that gift of permission to start right now. And then, of course, to keep beginning each time you show up to the mat.

When I finally got back to Virginia this summer, I took a cursory glance at my magnet and didn’t even hesitate about showing up to take a yoga class at Flow. I knew I’d be lucky if my yoga pants still fit and I knew, too, that just to manage a knees-down chaturanga would be a triumph. I was greeted by warm smiles and an already warm yoga room. I rolled out my mat, and set to beginning.

— Rebecca Brock

 

 

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