The Serendipity of Yoga
The funny thing about yoga is that it always seems to give you what you need.
Every time I take a class outside of my own practice, it seems to be an invitation for the teacher to read my mind. Each class is tailored to exactly what I have been focusing on, stressing about or specifically trying to stretch.
One day I was feeling jammed up and short in my sides, waist and hips. I kept trying to lengthen one leg and pull my side body longer to create space in my hip. For some reason that day I felt drawn to a studio for ballet yoga. I wasn’t sure what it was; but I love yoga and I love ballet. We specifically worked on exactly what I had been trying to stretch all morning. We stood with one foot on a block and lengthened the other towards the floor so that the entire side could lengthen. I’ve never done this stretch in a class before and it was exactly what I needed.
At times in yoga class I feel such overwhelming emotions. Sometimes joy, sometimes pain, sometimes nostalgia, sometimes sadness and sometimes a huge amount of love.
My internal and external world collide in my practice. When I’m pushing too hard and hurting myself in class, I am mirroring that in life. When I am being lazy and not going far enough, it’s often the same at home. Other times I compensate, if I feel I’m not doing well in life I try to overachieve in my practice. If I’m feeling balanced, my flow is too.
During a recent practice the teacher’s class was about conquering fear and reaching for something that you want. We prepped through a graceful, intentional flow. I kicked up into handstand in the middle of the room and actually held it for some time. Handstand is one of the poses that I’ve always had trouble with. I got so excited! The next few attempts I couldn’t stick it, though. The reason I was able to catch it the first time, is because I didn’t think. I prepped, I jumped, and I was in. Simple as that. Once I started overthinking it, I fatigued my body and my brain. I’ve been holding myself back from life. I just need to do the prep and effortlessly press myself up.
As a mom of a toddler, I’ve found myself letting go in many areas of my practice mainly due to the fact I’d rather be with my son than anything else in the world. But; yoga gives me an abundance of strength, courage, confidence and new insights about myself constantly. I love my own practice and I also love to take from other teachers to expand my knowledge.
I’m not sure if the teachers are reading my specific needs, or it’s me being drawn to a class by sixth sense or just plain coincidence. Nearly every class feels made uniquely to match my needs at that given moment in my life. It may be that I’m just so in tune with my body and in the moment in each class that I’m getting exactly what I need from it; or it may be that I’m open to receiving the gifts the universe has to offer me and I keep on going. Whatever it is, I’m grateful for the serendipity of yoga and my ongoing journey. Maybe you have this experience too?
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!