Last night I took a Power Yoga class taught by Annie Martin at The Yoga Shop in South Windsor, CT. Annie began the class by talking about how our willingness to heal ourselves can alter the course of our lives in ways we never imagined. I always find it interesting how I am drawn to certain yoga classes like a patient is drawn to a therapist: before I go, I feel uninspired and uncomfortable. After I leave, I feel rejuvenated and healed.
Annie has a way of teaching that is extremely powerful. It takes a talented and seasoned instructor to be able to convince their students to push beyond their boundaries, and to challenge themselves to see just how strong they can be. Suddenly a sequence that moves from crescent pose to tree pose to warrior III doesn’t seem so difficult when she guides you through it, saying “Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.” She makes you understand that to stay in the pose with concentration and discipline is a way of standing up for yourself. It is a way of healing yourself. And isn’t that what we have to do everyday? Take a breath in (to change our “position”) and take another breath out (to process that change)?
With music pumping (try sun salutations to Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York!), Annie guided us through a graceful yet powerful practice, challenging us to “go there” and to be “comfortable in the discomfort.” She spoke to us like dear friends, demanding us to “crack open the shell around our hearts” and be big. Shine brightly, she told us.
I love yoga classes that make me want to go back for more. Annie does just that. She inspires us to not only challenge our bodies but also our minds. And at the end of her 90-minute yoga class, I felt bigger and bolder. As I left class, I heard Simon & Garfunkel’s lyrics in my head:
“I know you’ve been eager to fly now.
Hey let your honesty shine, shine, shine now.”