The teacher enters the room and sits quietly in front. She explains what the class will hold and then asks you to place your hands at your heart and as a group you chant "om". You obediently follow what seems to be very cult like behavior. You all sit for a brief meditation (brief = an eternity at this point). From there the movement begins. The teacher begins to rattle off words ending in "asana", which have absolutely no meaning to you. You look around the room and feel panic as you attempt to follow all of the other students.
About midway through your first yoga class, you begin to have a feeling that you have not experienced before... energized, yet calm. You take a look at the the other students, who are not as "fit" and "perfect" as you had originally imagined. They are "normal" just as you are. The teacher moves through the room and assists you and you see the compassion in her eyes and instantly begin to trust this person, finding her quirkiness endearing.
After a period of lying on your back and soaking in all of the movement, the class comes to an end and everyone again chants "om". There is a connection that you feel at this moment with the entire classroom. The teacher ends with "namaste" and explains what this means: "I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells; I honor the place in you which is of love of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one."
You leave the studio feeling as light as a feather, a feeling that you are not used to. You get home and immediately go online to see when you can schedule your next yoga class... you're hooked.
NOTE: There are many yoga classes out there. Find the teacher and the class that feels right to you. There are also many styles of yoga, so be sure to do some investigating. Sanskrit is a written language and the words are sometimes used in yoga classes, but not always. Be certain to make a teacher aware that this is your first class. Pick classes suitable to your experience and don't be afraid to ask questions.
In Gratitude, Suzanne
Peace in your community; peace in your home and peace in your heart.
Suzanne Nicklas, RN, E-RYT, HHC, is owner of Shanti Yoga Studio in Troy, NY and is a Registered Nurse, Registered Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Coach. She holds workshops on wellness and stress management and also offers corporate classes and workshops. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.shantiyoga.ws. or for Health Coaching through Pink Lotus Wellness, visit www.suzannenicklas.com