I have just attended a flow yoga class as part of my ‘yoga mission’ – the last week with evenings off to do exercise on land. Now I know I should be running or doing some highly active cardio workout; however, I have felt a need for something more meditative, soothing yet challenging. Luckily for me, I found a tranquil 108 Yoga studio five minutes away from the dock in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have been to four classes so far and am trying to go everyday this week before the guests arrive on Friday.
Today’s flow class was a bit of a wake-up call for some stagnant muscles as well as my mind which was overly active. This was the opposite of Sunday’s class where meditation led to an elderly man falling asleep at the end. ‘Deep breathing, no sleeping please,’ repeated the yoga instructor.
Flow yoga is all about breathing in and out of various movements and today’s class focused on the heart’s energy chakra with sun salutes, cobras and other poses where you expose your heart/chest area outwards. I struggled to grasp all the vibrations that we were meant to be feeling around our heart’s energy but that is probably because I was trying to breathe correctly. I still haven’t mastered this breathing thing. The yoga instructor told us to breathe in for eight slow counts and out for four. I automatically breathe in deeply over about 4 counts and then sort of freeze and hold my breath while the rest of the class performs it properly. How can these yogis breathe in for so long? This frustrated me as I couldn’t get the hang of it. I continued to close my eyes, centre myself and focus on controlling my breathing. Throat freezes, short breaths….eish!
Sarah, our instructor, put this into perspective for me with a reminder that this physical frustration is a manifestation of mental/emotional frustrations. I really am getting value for my money. Who needs therapy when you can go to yoga?! Ping! This started to make sense. As my over-active mind did a good 10km run while I was moving from cobra to downward dog poses, my breathing improved and towards the final stages of the class I was almost reaching seven out of eight counts while inhaling and exhaling.
Sadaya is the practice of discovering your inner truth or inner self. How apt and very Eat, Pray, Love? I am a wanderer traveling the world on a super yacht called Solaia (rhyme much?!) trying to perfect my sadaya. This really resonated with me. For the past couple of months I have been considering getting a tattoo of the words ‘inner truth’ somewhere on my body but haven’t yet (don’t worry Mom and Dad) as I can’t decide where to put it. I guess this is all part of the process of self-discovery. I managed to pretzel my body into the extended bench position but wasn’t quite ready for the wheel pose. How symbolic! I have not yet fully discovered my inner truth but at least now I am aware of where I stand at present and in which direction I want to go. I think life is a journey of self-discovery right up until your very last breath.
The final pose of the class was a seated position holding our hands together over our hearts. Fingers and the heels of each hand connected leaving a small space in between. According to Sarah, this space or small opening is a reminder to have an open mind and heart. Sadaya yoga practice is about getting rid of the clouds and letting sunshine pour down on you. As I continue to follow the sun around the globe on M/Y Solaia (Italian for ‘happy sun’) I feel like I am on the right path to whatever it is I am meant to be doing. I have an open mind and heart and am ready for whatever comes my way.
P.S. If you feel like you need to get into touch with your inner self, enjoy yoga and are in Cape Town for SA’s Women’s Day then sign up for the Wellness day yoga workshop in the advert below. YoYoga is a great yoga studio and the delish food from SoulFood and thought-provoking talks sound like something I would love. Unfortunately, I am on the other side of the world in Canada so am sending my Mom instead as she has been the women who I have always and continue to admire. ❤