I’ve just returned from an awesome vacation with my husband and friends in Madiera and Sao Migual – glorious islands of Portugal. Although I didn’t practice yoga in a formal way during our holiday, I did use my travel mat to stretch and practice a few poses at the end of each day; coming back to my mat always helps me to still my mind and breathe more consciously and calmly.
I visited Moksha Yoga Aurora in July seeking some relief from my constantly busy striving, questioning, worrying mind. I didn’t know what to expect when I entered the studio, but I was reassured by the warm welcome I received from the wonderful staff.
Restorative Yoga with Mary was my first experience at the studio and I’m so grateful for her kindness, compassion and welcoming nature. Although my mind would still wander away from the present experience of the stretch and the breath, Mary’s warm and calm encouragement – through hands on adjustments and the use of props to make postures more relaxing – kept me coming back. Not only did this class give me the confidence and encouragement to keep coming back, it also piqued my curiosity about the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga and it enabled me to take the risk of trying other types of classes at the studio.
Since then I have taken many classes – Moksha Series, Moksha Flow, Moksha Music, Yin, Pilates, Barre – and each time, in every class, I have experienced the beautiful sense of community, the warmth of inclusion and the authentic desire of teachers to offer support, inspiration and encouragement. My participation has not always been consistent as – like everyone else – work commitments, family obligations and health issues have often taken me off course, but I keep coming back.
Now that I’m “mostly” retired I have more time to commit to my practice – both on and off the mat. In February, 2016 I joined the wonderful Moksha Yoga retreat to Mexico. This experience definitely took me out of my comfort zone as I traveled alone, engaged with very able and experienced yogis and had lots of time for personal reflection. This experience encouraged me to make more mindful decisions about my health. I committed to making yoga a regular practice and to learning more about its origins and philosophy.
Yoga Has Helped Me To Become More Physically Active.
Walking, climbing stairs and – Zumba, Nia, swimming, etc. During our recent trip I walked many kilometers through beautiful landscapes with relative ease. I know this is a direct result of my yoga practice. All those utkatasana poses continue to pay off.
Even more importantly, yoga has helped me to meet challenging situations and worrying circumstances with greater ease and calm. This is not to say that I am always willing to accept things as they are, but I am more conscious of my reactions and more likely to pause and respond in a mindful way when something troubles me. I love the inspirational quotations and invitation to set an intention for my practice at the beginning of class. The simple intention to stay with my breath is a challenge; however, when I make the effort, I feel the benefits immediately.
One of the books Anna recommended in class – “Living Your Yoga” by Judith Lasater has been a tremendous support in helping me to deepen my practice. Lasater says “to practice yoga in the deepest sense is to commit to developing awareness by observing our lives: our thoughts, our words, and our actions.” For me this is an important insight and an important challenge; sometimes I choose to be unaware and to shirk personal responsibility. So, this is definitely an opportunity for growth and transformation. Lasater goes on to suggest that “it is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day to day details of our lives that will transform us.” I believe this to be true, but I have found that the desire to live authentically is challenging. I’m learning to be more compassionate with myself when I find my actions in conflict with my longing to live more responsibly.
Finally, I would like to express gratitude to all of the amazing teachers at Moksha Yoga Aurora. Each one brings a lovely warm spirit of kindness, encouragement and inclusion to their classes. I certainly feel part of the community and I am committed to continuing my yoga journey with their support.
Next adventure — Moksha Yoga retreat to Costa Rica!