HOW YOGA CHANGED ME
to yoga, what it seems to do with many
things, it turned it into a commodity.
Despite my disdain and my aging body,
my soul was asking to be paid attention to,
to be cared for and mindfully moved. So
with the prompting of a friend who recommended his local Indy yoga studio, I dared
to sign up for my first Hot Yoga class.
A cascade of feelings overtook me as I
entered the hot, darkened studio for my
first yoga class in a long, long time. I was
anxious. I was vulnerable. I was feeling
inadequate. After all, I used to be “the
yoga teacher.” Eclectic, sometimes loud
music, mats lined closely together and
the uniform sound of breathing flooded
my senses. My body quivered, my heart
raced, my skin sweated like never before.
But regardless of my uncomfortableness,
I felt empowered. Despite my neglected
state, I knew my yoga mat was where I
wanted and needed to be. It was a re-acquaintance, not only with my aging body,
but more importantly, deeper layers of
myself. It required a letting go and a letting in. It took courage for me to show
up, remain present in the moment and
honor my body’s weaknesses with compassion and respect.
week unlimited pass and found myself
eagerly exploring different teachers and
styles. Sometimes, the music was too
loud, or the teacher talked too much, or
I became frightened when asked to do
hand or headstands. But I realized, it
was ALL grist for the mill. All the things
outside myself that I judged, I realized I
was simultaneously pushing away similar
parts of myself that I have not quite balanced, a rough edge so to speak.
So I continued on. I bought additional
classes. In the moments before each class
I quiet my mind and center on my mat
in the darkness of the hot yoga studio
awaiting the teacher’s instructions. I still
recognize anxiety as I anticipate where I
will be asked to move. But now I have
a new friend, myself, knowing she won’t
take me beyond my new emboldened
edge, but continues to nudge me beyond
the deadened safety of my old self-limiting beliefs about who I am, and what I
am capable of accomplishing.
Anne Alderfer, RYT 200, is a hospice social
worker, wife, mother of three amazing adult
sons, aspiring writer, meditator, former
yoga teacher and life adventurer.
first discovered yoga in 1978, studied the
lineage of the Himalayan Masters and later taught her own integrative style of yoga
for 15 years.
Currently Anne prefers being the student
on the mat in yoga classes and learning to
strengthen, flex and accept her changing
body and self.
I give thanks for this opportunity of
growth made possible by the beautiful
venue of Indy’s modern yoga studios, despite those who argue this is not yoga in
it’s purest form. ■
This boldness was new to me, and it’s
causing me to be cracked wide open, and
I love it. I’m leaning in to myself, to listen, to strengthen, to love myself more
fully. It feels great. I signed up for a two-