I arrive at the hall or launch my Zoom session and set up my own space. Students arrive. The familiar early birds selecting their usual spot in the physical room. Then come the majority selecting their places - again as close to their regular place as possible and then the last minute arrivals filling in the gaps between mats.
There is the buzz of chatter. I love that all my groups are so friendly, welcoming of others and so supportive of one another.
Start time arrives and as much as I am reluctant to halt the flow of chatter, I suggest we start the class.
Class begins seated for a “settling”. This brief meditation, breath awareness leading into very gentle neck and shoulder warm ups, eases the group attention away from their outside busyness to a stiller space. From multi-tasking to uni-tasking. As this 10-15 minute section progresses, I feel the energy in the room change and soften. I see the faces in front of me soften too. The bodies, elegantly, and effortlessly seated. Peaceful. Calm.
It wasn’t always like this. Sitting on yoga blocks just four inches from the floor isn’t easy or comfortable for most adults new to yoga (We can adapt, use chairs etc at first). For some time, newbies will fidget, become distracted, adjust hair, find something itching, reposition glasses, check something, peep around at peers. Gently, I coax them to draw their attention back in. In the in person classes there is a group energy to be felt. I feel it to a lesser extent in online groups too.
This week, I have experienced waves of emotion as I have scanned the rooms. The serene stillness and focus. Each person right here, right now very much in the moment. This week, I held them in meditation a little longer. I sensed they were “in that still space”.
Then slowly suggesting breath-led movements and mindful repositioning, these bodies create shapes, still focusing inward. Feeling, visualising, listening and experiencing their version and their interpretation of my verbal invitation and/or cue.
These wise individuals uninterested in what others are doing, are completely absorbed in what is happening on their yoga mat. I don’t demonstrate unless I feel it necessary. I much prefer the posture is experienced in a way that suits each body (as long as it appears safe).
The pace changes, energy levels increase as we switch from stretchy and strength building static poses to flowing movement. Still we breathe and feel and trust and experience.
Then comes stillness as these bodies find the floor and arrange their bones comfortably on their mats, allowing the earth to cradle them as they follow my voice and use their breath, journeying into relaxation. Trusting. Dropping deeper, breath by breath. Breath quietens. Heart rate slows. Blood pressure reduces.
The only movement visible in the room, is that created by the natural inhaling and exhaling of these bodies before me.
All too soon, I need to draw these peaceful people back to alertness - via their inhale and their senses of hearing and touch. Returning to sitting on blocks we acknowledge one another before departing until the next time. These lovely people all leaving class a little lighter, a little more spacious, a little taller and a little more positive.
Thank you to all you wonderful people who attend my classes online or in person. You show me proof of the power of yoga.