A bit of a personal post today. I am so fired up this morning! Last night I went to a yoga class called The Future Sound of Yoga in the city with my beautiful friend Jacqueline and let’s just say it was an incredible experience. I am new to yoga, and if you asked me before last night, I would tell you that I am ‘not very good at it’. In fact, I even said that to Jac in the lead up to the class. What a load of rubbish. I am exactly what I am meant to be at this point and last night taught me that not only is my yoga perfectly fine, my life and everything in it is too.
Firstly, let me share the amazing atmosphere that we walked into. There was a transcendent quality, walking into that grand sandstone church. Nestled on the edge of the busiest city in Australia, Paddington Uniting Church seems to sit comfortably on the edge of Oxford St. You could feel it the moment you walked through the opening, instantly the smell of incense filling you lungs. It felt religious, but it was our own kind of religion – one free of any kind of rules and judgements.
Wandering into the hall, the vast ceiling above was filled with dim colours of pink, blue and purple. The lights were off, and bursts of colour were projected up the sandstone walls, illuminating the room. Jac and I found a quiet place at the back of the room and I rolled out my brand new yoga mat. It felt symbolic in a way – yoga is so new to me and after completing my five week beginners course that Gav bought me for valentine’s day, I was keen to try out what I had learnt in a new setting. Rolling out that mat for the first time felt like the beginning of something. Chilled beats were playing, a DJ set up in the centre of a slightly raised platform stage. The room was already quite full, people sitting on the mats – stretching, chatting. Jac and I followed their lead and did the same. We always have far too much to talk about, Jac and I, so we take every opportunity.
The class was amazing. There was an energy in the room that kept ebbing and flowing with the music and it escalated at different times. Eventually the class built up to a dance party and everyone just let loose. It was amazing to just get lost in a room full of moving bodies. One of the best things about going to this with Jac is that she is not clingy. We were able to do our own thing and be comfortable that we were doing our own thing together. There was no need to stick side by side. There was just a pleasant safety in knowing she was there – somewhere.
The class ended with a few minutes of free pose time where you could do whatever your body needed – I love this concept. It was lovely to just listen to my body and say “hey body, what do you need right now?” During this time I started thinking about all the things I had to be thankful for. I know people always say to count your blessings and we think that we are taking the time to be grateful but how often do you actually let it touch your soul?
I let it touch my soul last night.
Through the free pose period I focused intensely on each of the things I have to be grateful for and it filled me with such a sense of hope. Like an explosion of glitter in my heart – a weird analogy, but if you know the showgirl side of me you’ll know an explosion of glitter is a GREAT thing! I thought about my family – how my Mum is my rock, my never-waivering companion. I thought about Gav and how much he has taught me, the safety and completeness I feel every day simply because I know him. I thought about Rosie and how rare a dog like her actually is – like seriously, that she is a dog doesn’t change the fact she is ridiculously intelligent and can hold awesome conversations. I thought about my work and my PhD and how incredibly lucky I am to be in the position to not only a. research and spend time pondering in academic enquiry but also b. transfer knowledge through teaching. Even though sometimes (a lot lately) I feel drained by the prospect of teaching for five hours in a day, I realise how privileged I am to be standing in front of a marketing class at one of the best universities in Australia. And I also thought about the trails and tribulations I have had with bad health and I took a moment to be thankful for movement in my limbs, air in my lungs and thoughts in my head.
And then I thought about Jac. As I laid in shavasana (which is basically laying flat on your back with your eyes closed, arms out to the side, palms up – also known as corpse pose) I thought about how Jac has been a truly treasured friend for the past 6 years. I barely remember meeting her. All I remember was that we were in a class at uni, a performance studies unit, and she was like a ray of sunshine. We were sitting in a circle and we had to say something about ourselves. She said she made clothes and sold them online and I remember seeing the cool rings on her fingers. That’s it – that’s what I remember about the day we met. Somehow she became one of the most valued friends I am sure I will ever have. One that wasn’t introduced to me by someone else. One that wasn’t my friend as a matter of circumstance. We decided, the two of us, to be friends. We made it ourselves.
Suddenly I remembered a time that I am not even sure if Jac would remember. A time we were sitting in our favourite cafe on campus – Ralph’s. We would text each other “meet you at Ralph’s in ten?” and then that was always followed by a hot chocolate! This one day we were sitting in Ralph’s with our hot chocolates and Jac was asking me about my Arthritis (for those of you who don’t know, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune disease and nothing like old person arthritis, despite what most people seem to think). I was telling her about it, about my childhood and growing up with it and I just remember looking up and seeing tears rolling down her cheeks. It was that moment I knew I had someone special sitting in front of me. I doubt she would remember that day and it might embarrass her to know I shared that story but it meant the world to me.
So I lay there last night, in shavasana, arms out with palms up and Jac takes me hand at the exact moment that I was thinking how lucky I am. This is friendship.
Pure. Simple. Friendship.
Thank you yoga. That was a good lesson you taught me last night. Friendship and gratefulness.
Photo credit: The Future Sound of Yoga