I have just completed my second year of yoga. My cousin says going into a third year, I am now officially a “yogi.”
I had never done one posture until two years ago, when I signed up for Wednesday gentle strengthening and stretching classes at Evolvewell in the Roland Park Shopping Center.
Now Evolvewell has, well, evolved. That studio is now closed, but I have continued with my first teacher there, Dianne Mekelburg, at her own studio, Beyond Postures, in the Mill Centre.
Still in the “hood,” yoga classes are still just off Roland Avenue and still on Wednesday mornings, which I find perfect timing midweek. I could use yoga twice a week, but no classes are held on Saturday. I try to be good about doing some of the postures that have kept my back from hurting while gardening, my knees and ankles limber, and my mind as organized as it seems capable of being.
What I noticed this Sunday morning, when I was out gardening, is how much yoga has helped my balance. When moving around the garden and its flagstone paths, it’s easy to turn a foot and stumble, particularly when carrying buckets, rakes, spades and plants. When squatting while weeding and planting, it is not hard to tip over.
What I have noticed recently is how much better my balance is and how much more stamina I have, even on very warm mornings. I’ve also noticed how much more aware I am of my footing and my surroundings. There seems to be a connection between weekly yoga sessions of listening to the sounds in a room, moving attentively through a sequence of postures with others and having one’s mind and body more “centered” and in better communication.
Besides feeling better coordinated in the garden, garden tasks seem to go more smoothly these days. Most days I don’t bite off more than I can chew, or tolerate physically.
On Sunday morning, when I could feel my face was really warm, (“beet red,” my husband said when he saw me inside), I knew it was time to stop. I’d finished weeding two beds, edging them and leveling the soil. In them I’d planted a pack of zinnia seeds I’d forgotten to plant earlier. I’d spread a bag of pine fines over both beds, and I’d brightened up the edge of the garden with six pale pink periwinkle plants.
As I stood looking at a tidier garden, I took a “falling out breath.” After drinking a glass of water and sitting for awhile in the kitchen, I knelt on the hall rug and did “child’s pose” to stretch out tight back muscles before going to Meadowbrook to swim laps to cool down my “core.”