November’s Inspiring Yogi, Rosemary, has been a devoted part of the Inspire Yoga family since the early months at Inspire Denton. As with any of our stories, Rosemary has learned that making her way to the mat has made a huge impact in her life.
I took my first yoga class when I was 19. My freshman year in college, I had a friend who was from Boston who told me she thought I would really like yoga. This was in 1989, before yoga had the widespread popularity it does now. I thought she was very cool, so when I transferred to a university in Boston not long after, I signed up for a class. Although I had been a dancer since I was 4 years old, believe it or not no one had ever taught me how to stretch my body. So yoga was a revelation to me. In those classes I learned new ways of moving my body that were both scary and exhilarating. For someone who had spent her whole life pulling up and trying to resist gravity through my dance, plow pose literally turned my world upside down. I can still remember the feeling of surprise and delight that my body could bend like that. It took me years to be able to do a headstand, and I still struggle with arm balances. But each class gives me the opportunity to try again, to be confident in my physical strength and to try and overcome my mental fears of being upside down.
Over the years as I’ve moved around, I’ve gone in and out of having a regular yoga practice. As a dancer and a teacher myself, I’m pretty picky about my yoga teachers. It’s important to me that my teachers have a good understanding of anatomy and know how to facilitate a safe and challenging flow. I initially came to IY when the Denton studio opened because I knew some of the new teachers and wanted to support them. I kept coming back because of the excellent teachers and the welcoming environment.
I love it when Inspire Yoga teachers start class by saying, “You’ve already done the hard work by getting here. Everything you do here on your mat is just a bonus.” That sentiment gives me permission to not be so hard on myself. While yoga for me is about learning (and relearning, and then relearning again) when to push beyond what I think I can’t possibly do, it’s also about recognizing when to give myself a break and take rest. There are definitely days when I walk in the door thinking that I am going to do nothing but lie in savasana the whole time. I haven’t actually done that yet, but I know if I did, I would be supported and encouraged in it.
Classes at IY don’t eliminate my stress. But they do help me manage it better by keeping my body strong and aligned. I need far fewer visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist when I attend yoga regularly. Establishing a regular practice at IY over the last year has helped me strive for equanimity, one class at a time.