I am so looking forward to Thursday. THANKSGIVING! The turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes. THE PIE! The chance to think about what I’m grateful for. Did I mention the pie?
I’m especially looking forward to spending a chilly fall holiday all cozied up with people I adore.
Yes, it will be nice to spend time with my husband and my kids and other guests. Of course it will!
But when I say, “cozied up with people I adore,” I’m thinking about the 90 minutes I’ll spend packed into the yoga studio, mat to mat, practicing a series I love with yogis whose faces and voices and practices enhance my life every day.
I’m thinking about the Thanksgiving class at BYC! Can’t wait!
I went to my first Thanksgiving morning yoga class 7 or 8 years ago, and it marked a turning point in my practice.
Before then, I was most comfortable with a sea of space around my mat. I didn’t want to worry about whacking anyone during my arm swing into Eagle, or fighting for sweaty space during Full Locust. I loved my practice, and had made some friends at the studio, but I didn’t think about or feel much connection to the larger group during class. I would sometimes admire/resent people in the front row, for whom the yoga seemed ridiculously easy (I now know better!), but mostly it was me and my isolated mind struggling on my own little mat/towel island.
I knew the yoga made me feel so much more able to flex and flow with the stress of daily life, so when I heard there’d be a Thanksgiving donation class, I figured it would make the holiday better for me and my whole family.
I got to class a little early on Thanksgiving morning, deposited my donation of non-perishables at the front desk, and entered the already-full hot room. Three rows instead of the usual two. Mats inching closer and closer, visible carpet disappearing, as more and more people arrived. Every time another person walked in, I thought, there’s no room for them, but then multicolored rectangles shifted, and another space appeared. Always room for one more.
Instead of the usual pre-class quiet, a buzz of happy, excited conversation filled the hot room. I felt a little vortex of giddiness rising behind my sternum, where the “here we go!” dread of waiting for class to begin usually festered. I looked around and saw people I recognized from the locker room, from the lobby, from other classes. A few people from my town, who I didn’t know practiced at the studio, waved at me. It was the first time at the studio that I really felt part of something bigger.
I felt the sweet thrum of community.
I knew I was in for something special, but it wasn’t until the first loud, powerful, H-A exhale of Pranayama that I felt, inside out, bones to skin, the power of that many people practicing yoga in close proximity. It practically lifted me off the ground. And I stayed in that semi-levitated state for the full 90 minutes and for hours afterward.
Did I hit anyone during Eagle? No, we managed in the space we had. Was finding arm space for Full Locust a bit, ahem, awkward? Yes, but also fun. Laughing in a tough posture is a very freeing, strengthening feeling. Did we have to perform towel origami to make space for Triangle? Yes, we did, but I was actually excited to hold Triangle, all four sides, in the midst of all that concerted effort. It wasn’t just me holding the posture, it was us, and it was beautiful!
Ever since then, I’ve experienced a packed yoga room not as an impediment to me having plenty of my own space in the room, but as an opportunity to plug into positive group energy. The more the merrier!
I am counting the days until the Thanksgiving Day class, this Thursday, November 24, at 7:30am. I still get that giddy feeling in my chest just thinking about it. It might be better than pie!
Plus, it’s your only chance all year to see Terri in a turkey hat!
Hope to see you there!
- Please bring a donation of cash ($15 recommended) or nonperishable food items for our group offering to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.
- Come early to ensure that you have a space. We’re good at making room, but the studio does eventually reach capacity! Online reservations are not accepted for this class.
–Ellen Olson-Brown, Bikram Yoga Chelmsford