THE YOGA CHALLENGE by Tara Ford

THE YOGA CHALLENGE

My family teases me because every week I search out the Alibi so that I can read my horoscope.  I like the notion that the stars can give me a little guidance, although I admit to only a pop culture understanding of astrology.  My horoscope for the first week of November urged a focused exploration of a new opportunity, pointing out that November is the month that thousands of people challenge themselves to write every day.  I remembered watching a great Tedtalk about the potential for sustainable life changes just based on committing to something for thirty days. [1]

 

So what does this have to do with yoga?  I decided that my November challenge would be to commit to practicing yoga everyday for 30 days.    Why?  Because Dragonfly Yoga – the teachers and my fellow students — is a space where I can be simultaneously alone on my mat and surrounded by an incredible community.   I wanted to deepen my understanding of yoga and what it might hold for me.  These are the kinds of moments I cherish:

Angelle’s gentle reminder “what a friend we have in yoga.”

Cypresse doing a shoulder-stand, holding herself up between two chairs, and with a little encouragement, I found that I could do it too.

Hunter patiently leading us through Ashtanga poses every Monday and Friday, the very routine unveiling the newness of each moment on the mat.

Lori nurturing the community through book club, candle light mediation and, of course, asana practice.

Allegra explaining the story of Hanuman flying across the ocean and encouraging us to embody that loyalty and action in our pose.

Emily explaining how to breathe wide and expand out.

Liz making all poses seem possible, even if a little crazy.

Michele taking the great leap of opening her heart and this space, encouraging us all through practice by asking gently “yes?” after demonstrating how to ease into a pose.

 

And then there are my fellow practitioners, who have supported me through handstands, backbends, and camel.  People who have been next to me as I sweat buckets, touch my toes, fall on my face, balance, straighten, open, fold, and rest.

 

Has this changed me? Starting Saturday with a yoga class with Cypresse is a very different space than starting Saturday with errands.  My weekend starts with movement and introspection and that difference has holding power.  Yoga after work helps me let go of work and come home open to my family, wanting to tune in to them, for real. My husband and daughter made space for me to set this goal and reach it, and I hope this experience creates space for them to make new choices in their lives too.

 

Angelle is right, what a friend we have in yoga.



 

New Yogi

I have wanted to write this blog for over a month now. As a fairly new yogi, I’ve struggled with what I could possibly contribute.  I sometimes feel overjoyed with what yoga has brought into my life; I have found it difficult to put into words.  Each class I take I leave with a new found feeling of peace, calm, and gratitude that stays with me throughout the rest of my day. Although I have dabbled in yoga through my home workouts and at my local community center for about a year, it wasn’t until I tried DragonFly this past spring on a Living Social Special that I fell in love with it.  Last week I had the pleasure of taking a flow class with Cypress and she started the class with an emphasis of thinking of yoga as your home.  And there it was–DragonFly has become my new home, my new sanctuary!

Michele, the studio owner is extremely down- to-earth; she has the most gentle, warm, and kind spirit. That energy is present the moment you walk into the studio.  All the instructors are simply wonderful, I think I’ve now practiced in just about all the classes that are offered, there is something for everyone.  What is beautiful about this studio is that there is an emphasis on more than just the physical workout; there are constant reminders of what yoga is truly about. Regardless if you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years, the instructors at DragonFly are nonjudgmental and enthusiastic about sharing their practice with others.  Yoga, has helped  me to tap into my inner spirit, it continues to be an awakening experience.

I find myself not only planning my day around when I can work a class in but also really looking forward to seeing my new yoga family, my new home.  I have met so many wonderful women (and men) who are doing awesome work in our community.  It is inspiring to be surrounded by other yogi’s who care as much as I do about not only their own physical and emotional wellbeing, but also about the wellbeing of our community and the much larger world that we live in.  I hope that if you are reading this contemplating whether or not to try a class at DragonFly that you choose to do so! Namaste.