Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding Inner Bliss


We all want it. We all search for it. Many of us are confused about where to find it.

As you know by now, I look to God for my bliss. I always feel better when I turn to Him, do my best, and recognize that He is in control.

But there are many times when I'm stressed out and find it hard to slow down and focus...on where I'm going in life, what I need to do, and how to get there without losing my mind. Even though I pray often, my overactive, creative mind sometimes won't let me be still enough to hear the answer.

This is where Inner Bliss comes in. Yes, this is the name of the studio where I took my first yoga class on Saturday evening. When I spin on Mondays, often my instructor John's wife also takes class with us. Kristen is an instructor at Inner Bliss, and she invited me to participate in their annual Yoga Gives Back event on December 3rd, where for the entire day all classes are FREE. I signed up for her Candlelight Slow Flow class and eagerly anticipated giving it a try.

I mapped out the directions, knowing that even though I somewhat knew the area it could still be difficult navigating the twists and turns in the Rocky River/Lakewood area. At this time of year it's already dark in the early evening, which only made it more difficult to find the studio. I noticed the restaurant that was supposed to be right by it, but didn't see any other signs.

I wound up going down Lake Road too far and noticing I was in Lakewood. I needed to turn around and be back in Rocky River, so I got myself re-positioned and headed back. It was still too dark to see anything. I passed the restaurant and turned around again, thinking what a comedy it would be if I had to stop and ask for directions. "Excuse me, I'm looking for Inner Bliss." "I'm trying to find Inner Bliss..." I imagined some smart aleck telling me, "So am I" or "Well, aren't we all?" Luckily I pulled into the parking lot next to the restaurant and discovered that I was in the right place.

I had given myself plenty of time to get there just in case, so I wasn't stressed when I finally walked in. Even if I had been, the warm and inviting atmosphere would have caused it to drift away immediately. I signed in, grabbed a mat and found a spot to get ready.

The first few moves were relatively simple, but as the session went on I discovered that yoga is not quite as easy at it looks when someone else is doing it. I kept up pretty well for the most part, with a few times when I had to just go back into Child's Pose to stay with it and keep my breathing flowing. I'm glad this was a candlelight class, because it felt less intimidating that way. (Although, the ladies on either side of me were very kind...and most people are busy focusing on their own breathing and movement to have time to worry about someone else's.) Kristen and her assistant also came around to correct form and posture often.

I did notice one very important thing during this session. Concentrating on my breathing helped me clear my head and focus. And the various moves were strengthening my legs, arms, and core at the same time. There are similarites to Pilates, yet many differences which make yoga a perfect compliment to my other activities. And I felt absolutely wonderful afterward!

Kristen told me to drink a lot of water that night and the next day...double what I would normally think I'd need. She also hoped that I wouldn't be cussing her out on Sunday, since it was my first time doing yoga and I'd probably be sore.

She needn't have worried. I did have some soreness, but nothing that stopped me from decorating for Christmas, cleaning and doing laundry. I'm sure following her advice helped tremendously. I did cuss out the Browns - but that's an entirely different story.

So I'm now hooked on another form of exercise. (Better than food or other stuff that's bad for you!) I've signed up for the special beginners event in January at the studio, so I can learn it all step by step...and I can't wait.

Here's to all of us finding our Inner Bliss!

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