It was 1998. I was a freshman in college. Matt Hall lived on the first floor of my dormitory. One day while passing in the lobby, he said, “I discovered something really cool. You should check it out.” Being the open-to-any-experience freshman that I was, I said, “sure!”
The following Monday, we walked downtown to a church where about 30 people were gathered in a chairless, carpeted room. The teacher guided us through an hour sequence (see the sequence below). There were no mats. There were no blocks, straps, blankets, or other props. Most students, locals and college students, wore jeans and a t-shirt. At the end of class he asked us to donate a few dollars to the church to cover the cost of utilities. And then everyone quietly left.
Reflecting back on my first yoga experience, I remember feeling curious, open-minded, stretched, strong, challenged, peaceful, and incredibly relaxed. The following Monday, I went again and continued to attend class every week (minus summers and holidays) for the next four years. Yoga became an integral part of my life.
While my yoga practice has evolved over time, I often forget that curious, open-to-anything approach. I envy my freshman year old self.
In the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali, Sutra 1.1 reads, “atha yoganusasanam,” which can be translated to mean, “now begins the practice of yoga.” I realize that now is not a fixed point in time. It is not 19 years ago when I started practicing yoga. Now occurs every single moment.
When I get on my mat, or when I prepare to do a task for the umpteenth time, cultivating that curious and open-to-anything spirit I had as a freshman brings new perspectives. I am surprised to discover new insights. I am reminded that we have the opportunity to begin now all the time.
Lindsay's First Ever Yoga Class Sequence
- Centering – state an affirmation
- Head circles
- Shoulder circles
- Arm circles
- Lift chest/collapse chest x 6
- Hip circles
- Half Lotus, squat down
- Sun Salutes
- 1 minute Savasana
- Baddha Konasana
- Dandasana – rotate ankles
- Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
- Setu Bandha
- 1 minute Savasana
- Jathara Parivartanasana – with bent knees
- Nadi Sodhana
- Eye circles – cup palms over eyes