crested butte yoga, part 1

i know you’ve been dying to hear about my crested butte yoga experiences, but i fear i am sort of expecting a lot of my very kind blog readers with how much i have been writing. however, writing is a life-giving activity for me, so i am excited about how much time i have had for it on vacation. i’ve been reading and writing early in the mornings, on a park bench while the kids play and in the evenings while taido has been teaching our kids to play spades, which by the way, needs its own post. it brings back memories for me. a frustrated father trying to teach a fairly complicated card game to three silly children. good stuff. anyway, if you’re not really into yoga, you can skip all the yoga posts, hence the boring labels.

so i researched yoga before i came to crested butte and found one studio in particular that offers several different classes at many different times. my first class was a vinyasa yoga class. of course i was nervous about going to a new studio and not knowing those little details like where everyone puts their stuff or which direction the mats face. but the more times i go to a new yoga class, the easier it gets. so off i went. the studio is on the second floor of a place called daily, offering juice, smoothies, yoga, coffee and cookies. don’t you just love this place already? i went into the very comfortable little cafe and slowly just kind of took it all in…the menu, lots of wheat grass and the funky yoga clothing for sale. the studio is on the second floor. studio sangha. there were already five students warming up on mats when i entered the small space. i squeezed into what i felt like was the last spot, but one more still came in and found room after me, a guy–very tall and thin, with a shaved head and small square-rimmed glasses. he put his mat down between two girls, regulars for sure, in the front row. the back of the room by the windows was filled with the less regulars, me, another gal here on vacation who had just come from having an herbal massage and smelled of oregano, a fact of which she was quite aware and maybe a little self-conscious. she was pulling her mat as far away as possible. then two guys on my left filled out the rest of our row. this didn’t really leave room for the instructor, which didn’t seem to bother her. she didn’t use a mat anyway. she just sort of floated about the room, filling in spots here and there as she guided us with her mellow, soothing voice-a voice which quite tricked me actually into thinking we were sort of being mellow this evening. slowly, easily bending here and there. but don’t be fooled by the slow movement or by the extremely laid back approach of this studio (shoes piled on the landing as you round up to the space) – these people aren’t kidding. i think, as i reflect on the flow of the class, that everything i’ve been doing for the last 2 years has just been warm up for yoga. baby stuff.

usually when i go to a yoga class, i tend to be one of the most flexible people there. i can’t really take credit for this. God made me to bend and twist, not to run or weightlift. so part of why i love yoga is that people there look at flexibility like it is a personal attribute and even though i didn’t really do anything to become this way, it makes me feel good about myself. i don’t mind admitting that this little self-esteem boost is part of why i keep going back to yoga. well, at this studio i was just average in flexibility, which is dang unfortunate since i kind of tend to make up in flexibility what i lack in strength and body type. so that pretty much knocks me to the bottom of the totem pole at studio sangha. as i begin to realize my standing in the class (monica, the instructor, pointed out several times that it was okay if you didn’t get all the way into the pose because this is a mixed level class…) the Holy Spirit protected me from negativity with thoughts of my little family eating dinner, without me. taido was at this moment coping with simon’s standing up and probably throwing food in a restaurant. i thought, i am happy to be where i am, at the bottom of a very quiet and deceptively relaxing mixed level vinyasa yoga class.

so as i’m bending and focusing on not falling over, tuning monica’s voice in and out. i hear her say that a small afternoon thunderstorm prevented the class from being moved outside today. we bend backwards and as the girl in front of me tosses her head back, she gasps, pops back to standing and runs over to the window behind me. as the rest of us catch up to her exclamations, i realize she is looking at a huge rainbow. we all stop and move to the windows where we could see the entire arch of the most brilliant rainbow i’ve ever seen. it filled the whole valley, with the mountain rising up behind it. it was absolutely amazing. and i’d be lying if i said i didn’t enjoy the break to rest from the strenuous posing. we all stood at the windows for a while, everyone saying it was the most beautiful rainbow they’d ever seen. and it was.

we slowly resumed our class, moving back to where we were. i tuned back into monica as she said,

well, that was definitely a miracle. the rainbow was a miracle.

of course, we’re surrounded by miracles. that we can stand here on our feet is a miracle.

our body’s movements are all miracles.

and actually, she is right. God sustains life in me every minute, every second…every breath is a miracle. and though i don’t usually go in for what i often refer to as the fru fru talk of yoga, i left feeling very grateful. i had worked hard, but i was relaxed as i descended the little stairs from the quaint studio. every breath is a gift from God, but these breaths, this week, in this place are special miracles.