The sky is clear and the air has the freshness of a perfect autumn morning as I walk to
the Belair community centre for Easter Slow Down with Karen from Yoga Garage. I
feel slightly apprehensive because my experience of yoga, thus far, has been somewhat
mixed. I have always hoped to feel the connection of mind, body and spirit that many
people describe as a benefit of yoga; however, I have not yet found the type of practice
that meets both my physical and spiritual needs.
A handwritten sign at the door welcomes all yogis and bids us to “come in and breathe,
let busyness melt away and SLOW DOWN.” It’s a timely reminder that I am here to
relax, restore and rejuvenate mind and body. I am further reassured by Karen’s warm
smile. Her simultaneous passion for and approach to yoga make me feel instantly that
this is where I am meant to be right now.
We start by gently stretching each joint. My mind is busily collecting information about
my surroundings. It takes in: the brightness and airiness of the space; the soft music
playing in the background; the chirping of the lorikeets and the hum of the traffic; the
scent of essential oils mingling in the air. As is usual for me, my imagination flies at top
speed; it lights on small details for a moment before blending them to create various
narratives. Yet, my thoughts gradually slow as I enter and hold each pose. Karen
describes how thoughts, like the foods we eat, are nourishment for the body. Yoga, too,
is a form of nourishment and this Yin practice aims to strengthen the lungs and digestive
system for the coming season.
I breathe, feeling tension where I did not know it was held. While the sun streaming
through the windows casts an ethereal light across the room, it lacks the warmth it
promises and goose bumps rise on my skin. Unfortunately, I have already used my
blanket as additional padding beneath what I soon realised was a pathetically thin mat
bought with aesthetic more than pragmatism. Karen seems to sense my discomfort and I
feel her gently drape a blanket over me – the beauty of Yin yoga being that its long-held
poses may be held beneath a blanket and with the body supported by various props.
The session lasts for two hours; yet, I lose all sense of time passing and we transition
into the final pose: savasana. Lying on my back with my legs supported by a bolster and
the comforting weight of the blanket over my body, this is seemingly the easiest and
most relaxed pose. However, I am acutely aware of pain in my lower back, the bright
light and my mind returning to busyness. Again, Karen intuitively provides exactly what I
need: an eye mask, with a woody, sweet scent. I let myself relax into the moment.
By namaste, I feel a curious combination of rejuvenation and fatigue. This may be
because yoga encompasses physical and spiritual work; although, further practice is
required for me to test this hypothesis. Regardless, I feel calm and settled, nourished
and supported. This could be the beginning of something beautiful.
Genevieve is a resident of Belair who has recently discovered the healing potential of yoga.
When she is off the mat, she is a freelance editor who helps business professionals to deliver
their content with style and precision.