One piece of my daily routine is scanning a handful of my go-to websites for morning headlines and catching up on the news. These include theSkimm, NBC News, The Boston Globe, The Everygirl, and occasionally, the New York Times… though, admittedly, I most enjoy the lifestyle/travel/fluffier stuff in the Times.
A few weeks back, in my morning read of the Globe, I came across an article highlighting some upcoming outdoor workouts, including one hosted by Food + Wine magazine, called Yoga in the Park. I shot an email to a couple of friends, emailed my RSVP, and started counting down.
Thursday night I lined up my mat in a grassy park next to my friend Caitlin and proceeded to smile for an hour straight, stretching, twisting, and balancing through as much of the vinyasa flow as I could manage with 8-months of baby growing out front. (Okay, so there was minimal balancing, if we’re being honest.)
We’ve had a beautifully cool summer here in New England with warm, sunny days and chillier, comfortable nights. Thursday was no exception. Just a block from the harbor, we benefited from a nice, light breeze and Goldilocks-perfect temperatures. Our teacher, also named Goldie come to think of it, is well known in the Boston yoga community and for good reason — she teaches a creative, energetic, and downright fun class.
What I most enjoyed about class, aside from trying some different poses and unexpected flow, was that Goldie advised that we embrace the noise and hub-bub of the city sounds around us, instead of trying to block them out. Instead of trying to get so deep inside myself that I disappeared within my surroundings, I tried to listen with really fine-tuned attention. I worked on hearing the individual sounds that made up the din instead of simply hearing traffic or chatter.
With all of my senses, I absorbed the world around me; with my eyes, noticing a beautiful, confident yogi a row ahead, without a mat and toes entangled — no, planted — in the grass around her. I felt as though I sat at the table alongside a group of young professionals ordering another round at a patio bar across the street. I felt cool, then warm, then cool again, peeling my sweatshirt off and later snuggling back in, when the sun dropped and temperature dipped.
Thursday night, I soaked up the sense of community I have so missed over the past seven months and wondered how I could bring it home with me and replicate it each and every day. I was reminded — gratefully — that yoga is a practice, perhaps never a mastery. I sensed and considered the way the way that at the same time, yoga makes me soft and yet, strong. I savored the shift that has taken place: that a yoga class is an opportunity for me to return to my mat, to re-familiarize myself with the practice. It’s familiar now, and comfortable in a way that feels like it’s mine, not like it’s easy.