From summer through to autumn I went to the lake quite often. There’s nothing more wonderful to me than swimming, canoeing or sailing outdoors, on the water. The vastness of the sea, it’s movement, it’s quite a meditative matter even though it actually is quite physically demanding. I then saw this little group on the grass next to the lake again and again. Up to thirty people practising yoga.
It was very fascinating because when do you get the chance to see thirty people standing on their head for several minutes. I observed them and what they were doing didn’t really look comfortable or relaxing but somehow it had a strong appeal to me.
Up until then I didn’t have a lot of experience with yoga. Every now and then, when we went somewhere for a holiday and they had a yoga course I would join the class. But most of the time it was a disappointing experience because all the other participants could do what I wasn’t able to and it felt painful and uncomfortable. As a leisure activity it never appealed to me.
Further I remembered the little Miriam who always wanted to show us her know-how. Her favourite pose was the lotus flower. But when she crossed her legs in front of her stomach and pressed them actively into her stomach nearly every time accumulated gas left her stomach with a loud bang. As I say, I barely had any positive associations with yoga.
At the end of September on an unusually warm Sunday morning I decided to try yoga with the view on the lake and the mountain. It was nice and dreadful at the same time. Being on the grass, observing the lake, feeling the sun and the wind on the cheeks was great. The individual exercises were very physically demanding and what the others achieved easily, took me a lot of effort and led to a lot of pain and uncomfortable feelings. Me and giving up. That word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. When the others can stand on their heads for three minutes, I’m sure that I can learn it too. It’s just a matter of practising. So, I joined them and under instruction as well as at home in the living room on the carpet I practised the headstand. The first attempts didn’t feel comfortable but with increased practice It got easier and more comfortable. Yes, it is in fact possible to stand on your head and not to think about anything (oh how wonderful) and to enjoy the pose.
There’s another thing that I found difficult in the beginning. A lot of the time the exercises need to be done with closed eyes. In the beginning this wasn’t possible for me at all. I need to be in control and giving up control isn’t that easy. Every now and then when I consciously try to let go of control it returns to me. To lock yourself in, to let go, to have your eyes closed was impossible in the beginning. Only after a certain amount of time, I was nearly able to close my eyes but I still kept them slightly open. It took me nearly a quarter of a year till I could finally close my eyes. Today I can do many of the exercises with closed eyes and I have started to enjoy being in timeless space with myself.
No, I didn’t become a pro after these few weeks (It’s IMPOSSIBLE – the limit is unreachable – Meanwhile I have understood this). But today I don’t get muscle ache after an hour as I used to in the beginning. I can stand on my head for around three minutes and am thinking of learning the ‘scorpion’ pose. I still can’t keep up with the breathing exercises (but I don’t find them as ridiculous as when I first started). I very much enjoy the phases of effort and relaxation and of letting go. After the exercises I am like changed. I have a lot of patience, certain things lose their importance and the body has become a lot more elastic after a few weeks.
As far as you are planning a new year resolution, why don’t you give yoga a try, just keep in mind that you won’t have a grip on it after ten hours.