By Karen Vernon
In a town that has a yoga studio on every corner, I’d never really tried it before. Many friends had extolled the benefits, especially for an aging body that isn’t as flexible as it used to be.
But here’s the thing. There’s a mystique around yoga that makes it intimidating. A whole vocabulary – from downward dog to warrior pose – that makes it hard for a newcomer to just waltz in, roll out a mat, and join a class. Not to mention that my brief attempts to explore it via online videos usually resulted in a complaint of, “This is so slow!”
So I was the first to sign up when Mission’s Wellness team promoted a four-week beginner’s yoga class, taught by their own Michelle Fletcher, whom I’d met during the Healthy Weight program. I found Michelle’s approach exactly what the other class members and I needed – we all welcomed this chance to learn the basics in a non-threatening environment with other newbies. And being in a class made it okay to slow down for a bit.
Michelle taught us not just the poses (though there was a lot of that), but also the various breathing techniques that are foundational to yoga practice. And she reminded us frequently that it is a practice – no one masters it immediately. Which was what I needed to hear, as I struggled (non-coordinated as I am) to concentrate on breathing and poses at the same time. The good news was, the class was so low key, so we all felt more comfortable knowing we were all starting from the same place.
One of our class goals was to build our confidence, so we could be more comfortable joining another class. I think we’d all agree that basic goal was met – though I still don’t think the world is ready for my sun salutations! And at the end of every class, I could definitely tell my body was benefiting from the stretching and the breathing – how could it not?
I found this class was a great way to learn the basics, and give me a chance to consider how I might continue my yoga practice. Thanks Michelle!
Karen Vernon is a Senior Communication Consultant for Mission Health, and has enjoyed a three-decade career in not-for-profit governance and leadership, human resources and communications. Away from work, she dreams of writing a wildly successful novel and embarking on a world tour (with entourage). Meanwhile, she’s the ringmaster for a three-ring circus that includes two teenage daughters and a twenty-something son, two dogs, two cats, and a somewhat younger and much more fit husband, who, really, she is just trying to keep up with.