I remember my very first yoga class many many years ago. I went with a friend for support to a small studio across town. I had no clue what yoga was really all about. I mean I knew we’d stretch a bit and sit quietly but that’s the extent of my knowledge. Well I almost got kicked out of this first yoga class. I was really amused, that translates to ….I had the giggles. The yoga teacher kept telling us to breathe from certain parts of our body. I was so mystified as to how I was supposed to breathe into my legs, my back and my neck. It was entirely too much for me to comprehend so i just let out giggles. What the instructor should have done was to ask if it were anyone’s first time or even explain in a little more depth what would be taking place. This was a beginners class but there was no hand holding. Fast forward some 5 – 7 years, when I delved deeper into the meaning of yoga and its benefits. I finally had that “ah ha” moment of what my very first instructor was talking about when she indicated breathing into body parts that weren’t connected to my respiratory system. It was a mental shift, an awakening, therapeutic, relaxing. I was glad I found yoga… again.
Lately I have had to make sure I put yoga on my calendar in order to get to a class. Although I enjoy hot yoga and its intensity and the detoxification effects, sometimes it’s really about my mental clarity and comfort more than about my physical presence. Yoga helps me alleviate the heightened stress level and anxiety free fall that I experience every once in awhile when things don’t go as I plan or expect.
Although the physical benefits are amazing, the mental and emotional rewards are far more valuable. I’ve been attending the YinFlow classes at Sacred Chill Yoga West Studio in Atlanta, GA taught by my absolute favorite instructor Octavia Raheem. I’ve taken her classes for a few years now. She always seems to provide exactly what I need at the moment I need it. It’s like she caters to her students….well, ME! These YinFlow classes make room for us to chill, pause, move and groove. Yes, she’s set these classes to music that moves your soul. Sometimes it’s hard not tapping your toes or fingers or mouth the words to the songs but Octavia let’s us know that that is 100% okay. Even if you have to sing the verse out loud, it’s welcomed. So far, I’ve attend the Prince, Sade, Erykah Badu, Maxwell and Donny Hathaway editions of this class. I’ll miss the Jill Scott edition but I’ll be there for the Motown-ish Christmas class and I cannot wait to see what 2018 brings musically to the mat.
For as long as I can remember, there has been a musical presence in my life. Not that I am personally musically inclined, I play no instruments and I only sound great singing in the car in traffic or in the shower, but music moves me and makes me feel empowered. I grew up on the greats. I cherish the greats as a child of the 70s. From Teddy Pendergrass, Tower of Power, Commodores, Teena Marie, Rick James, Lakeside, Marvin Gaye to Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Anthony Hamilton, Ledisi, Prince….ok ,….so this list can go on and on! Music feeds me. To infuse these greats into a yoga practice where I’m allowed to still my mental, release my emotional and be fed deep in my soul is the absolute ultimate example of self care.
If you had to take a yoga class with any artist playing in the background who would it be? Drop your greats in the comments.
For more information on Sacred Chill West yoga studio, check them out here