The New Student: On Returning

by Karen Cygnarowicz in Yoga

I have been here before. Yoga appeared in my life when I was in college and the local studio offered a deal for new students. My roommates were attending classes and I tagged along to see what it was all about. I recommend the buddy system for accountability if you tend to talk yourself out of things. Invite a new neighbor, a coworker you’ve been trying to break out of the office with, or a cousin you have been meaning to get to know. Make it a thing, every Tuesday morning or even begin tonight and talk it over with wine after!

When I began yoga in college, I recognized that I needed a balance of my school studies with a meditative practice. I needed to clear my mind and feel empowered within myself, within my body. Soon enough I felt the effects of something new. I started attending classes even without my roommates because I enjoyed how a particular instructor taught or the different schedule fit my lifestyle better. While I have learned I enjoy a restorative night yoga class, I know others who prefer to wake up and breathe in their day.

Everyone is here to remind you that you are in control of your health. Your environment can be a mirror if you’re open to it.

My excuse in not returning to my practice of yoga has always been time. Whether it is – “I don’t have the time” or when I do have the time, “it’s been so long since I went to a class!” The worries of how I manage myself interfere with what is really important. Getting right to it. In the last year, I had lost a sense of myself. I forgot about my health and was distracted by work and figuring out a social life. Balancing, to me, was one foot out the door. In my recent move to Portland, I admit to being afraid of going to a new studio. It was overwhelming to imagine I could fit in somewhere (that’s honesty!) while I transitioned into a big city.

When I attended my first class at Flex & Flow, I was super early and rambled on to an instructor who asked me about my day, how I am doing, and a few other questions that spoke kindness in volumes. At some point in the conversation, I said “I’m nervous to be here,” remembering how long it had been since I attended a yoga class or did something new alone. And she responded with a question so practical to my every day since that its profoundness lives in my inability to come up with a good answer –– “What are you afraid of?”

This is where the virtue of patience can appear. For those of you who find resolution in reading my notes on my personal journey through vulnerability, let’s celebrate in a community that bows to the light within.