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I burned my tongue on my steaming coffee. I pulled my mat bag over my shoulder and decided to bring the mug with me; this was the third time I was attempting a yoga class at my gym since I had moved and I was about to be late.
As I drove, alternating between blowing my coffee and sipping it, I thought about the first two classes I had been to and how much different they were from the studio I practiced at in Michigan before I moved. These classes were not the flow classes I had come to adore. The people were different and the instructors seemed not as friendly. Even the music was unpleasant. But I had really dived into my practice in January because yoga did something wonderful for me. It was enlightening and soothing, and I definitely needed this in my new city. So I arrived, finding a place on the ridiculously crowded floor and lowering my burned tongue from the roof of my mouth. Focus in, I said. Give it a chance.
I found myself worrying, though. The first class I had gone to and I found myself fighting back tears for almost the entire 75 minute class. It was awful. The second wasn’t quite as bad, but all of the pain, sadness, and loneliness from the move erupted several times then, too, and it was disheartening. I found myself wondering what it was about this space that these feelings continued to surface. I mean really, my life in Sioux Falls is pretty great.
I moved through the asanas of the third class with a bit more ease and relaxation. I enjoyed the challenge of the balance poses and focused on my breathing. As we found our way to shavasana I felt good. I was warm, by body was tired but energized, and my mind was focused on now. I relaxed this way for a little while but suddenly a hole in my gut pulled me into the floor. I missed everything; I missed my apartment, my studio, my friends, the lake, my professional group, and my jobs. I missed the challenge, understanding, ease, and comfort. It pulled me down hard.
I breathed, mentally leaned in and wondered why this kept happening here. Sometimes in shavasana I find myself connecting to buried feelings. Am I so terrified of change that I shoved it down and covered it in busyness? What am I scared of; failure, loneliness, stagnancy? I felt a meaningful connection to these feelings, but also knew that I had already moved beyond these in this town. I thought about all of the great things that had happened since moving to Sioux Falls and all of the opportunities it still held. Why am I so upset about this change? And then a weird thing happened: I breathed out and it all left me.
I felt my tongue in my mouth, still tingling. I felt my mat and the cold air. I am here, I thought, and I finished up shavasana. As the instructor began “the light and love in me” I began to tear up again, but it was okay. I left the class with something to think deeply about and this is one of the reasons that I love yoga. I quietly sipped the rest of my coffee down before I started my car. It was cold and chocolaty. As I drove home in silence, listening to my tires on the street, I felt thankful that I could find these feelings and reflect on them. I am grateful that I found something that not only challenges my body, but challenges my ideas, beliefs, and “musts”. I plan on reflecting on these things today on my day off, just another enjoyable extra that I have acquired since moving to Sioux Falls. And I might just have some coffee, though I'll be more mindful of its temperature this time.