Remembering To Breathe.
Two hurdles prevent my giving yoga the consideration it deserves: time and my brain. In juggling work and deadlines, my personal time often suffers. As a result, the Wednesday night and Saturday morning yoga sessions my friend teaches never quite eventuate. So my LA YOGA editor and partner Natalie joined forces to encourage me to redress this with a Couples Retreat. Natalie and I set out to see whether the aforementioned were in fact hurdles or convenient excuses. The proviso was there would be no work. None, so the time factor was settled. That left my brain: a lot runs through my feeble mind while I am on the mat. Poses are constantly subjected to the conjecture of how ridiculous I must look and savasana (final relaxation) invites a stream of neural synapsing upon everything from shopping lists to pondering why it is illegal to cut hair on Sundays in Louisiana.
In the retreat’s Friday evening class, my mind was relatively free and receptive, although I wouldn’t say I was completely relaxed. The other couples were obviously seasoned yogis, which made me even more nervous, mostly because Natalie is one of those seasoned yogis and I didn’t want to make her look bad. As the evening unfolded, we ate, socialized, hot tubbed and I attempted to relax.
During Saturday’s partner yoga session, I dropped my guard, let go of the excuses and yoga seized the opportunity to reveal itself to me. The levity that filled our hearts and the room slowly instilled in me a new perspective on yoga. My relationship with Natalie is the most important part of my life and while I could list a million reasons why I love Natalie, a big part of our connection is that we have fun. And our yoga practice together was actually fun.
As I had Natalie flying on my feet, I was conscious of not letting her fall. As my legs wavered, rather than focusing on how much longer I could hold the pose, I turned inward, finding refuge in my breath: inhale, exhale; inhale, exhale. To my surprise, this actually worked. And, not only did it work with this pose, it worked for all of them. While I was concentrating on my breathing, shopping lists or the legality (or illegality) of hair dressing were no longer of consequence. I finally got yoga. It is not about how life connects
with me – it is about how I connect with life. It was with a newfound enthusiasm that I bounded into the Saturday morning class – and again on Wednesday.
By Brett Leigh Dicks
Natalie D-Napoleon is a yogi, songwriter and writer from Fremantle, Australia who now lives in California. She has an MA in Writing and works as a Coordinator at a Community College Writing Center. Her writing has appeared in Entropy, Australian Poetry Journal, LA Yoga and Writer’s Digest. In 2018 she won the Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize (Australia).