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Friday, April 30, 2010

Call me Muffin

I have had a lot of nicknames and, yes, Muffin is one of them.

In Hinduism, all the energies of the Universe are given different names. And so if God is everything and all energies are contained therein, He (and She) are named accordingly. Then each deity has many names, or nicknames. Each has at least 108 names!

Ganesha = Ganapataye, Devadeva, Amit, etc...

Shiva = Shankara, Shambo, Mahadeva, etc...

Krishna = Govinda, Gopala, Vasudev, etc...

Durga = Kali, Brahmacharini, Mangalya, etc...

And on and on and on....

Sanskrit is the language in which the Yogic scriptures were written and Sanskrit is a science of sound. We know through Western science that sounds are vibrations of energy. We know through the science of Sanskrit that each of these vibrations stimulates a different part of the brain. Most of this science has been lost through the years but modern Yogis are rediscovering it and finding that it correlates to what we know in modern science.

Hindu parents frequently give their children one of the names of a deity so that this vibration is repeated continuously in their home. Similarly other cultures do the same. Jews often give their children biblical names and in Catholicism, we are encouraged to give at least the middle name after a Saint.

My parents named me Kristina Marie, after Christ and Mary. This always went over like a ton of bricks in school when we had to do those projects on "How You Got Your Name".... And then at confirmation I had to choose my own name, after a saint. Bernadette. Then I got married and had to take on that name. In between, I've had a lot of nicknames. My family calls me Krissy; don't laugh. In high school my best friends named me Keebs, after the Keebler elf. Again, don't laugh. It's just that I used to wear the coolest purple boots with my school uniform, the only way to express my individuality.

When I got to college, I didn't want to be called Krissy, so everyone called me Kris. But in college I also ended up with nicknames. Freshman year I had an Indian professor who insisted on calling me Krishna. I always tried to correct him and by the end of the trimester the entire class would yell at him during roll call. I assumed he called me that because I thought he saw an 'h' where there the 't' meets the 'i' in Kristina. (Little did I know then how Krishna would play a huge role in my life and how closely connected Christ and Krishna were. There's a part of me who wonders if Professor Sharoodi knew something I didn't....)

Then senior year of college, my two friends and I had to deliver 10,000 muffins to a banquet, don't ask why. So there we were, 3 girls in tuxedos, loading muffins onto a yellow box truck. And so 'Muffin' stuck.

After college, I thought that even 'Kris' was too juvenile so I had everyone call me Kristina. And that hung on for a long time. Until Yoga found me.

Many Yogis and Yoginis have Sanskrit, spiritual names. I thought it would be cool to have one too. So one day when I was attending a program with my teacher, an enlightened soul, I asked Her for a spiritual name.

She told her husband to give me a name. He wrote it down, along with it's translation, on a piece of paper and handed it to me. It said, "Kumud. Pure like a lotus". Really? Kumud? Ok, they know best. So I sat down pondering 'Kumud'. While I was trying to wrap my head around this, my teacher called me back up. She had another disciple write down another name, again along with the translation. This paper said, "Aruna. Ray of sun". Ok, now that's more like it.

This made me laugh. Did She realize that I wasn't as 'pure' as they had originally thought and She wanted me to know it?? A friend once replied after hearing this story that maybe She wanted me to realize that I wasn't who I thought I was. Much more of a Yogic thought process.

When I researched 'Aruna' I found out that it is sometimes translated as the first rays that chariot the sun over the horizon. In Yoga when you get a spiritual name you kind of grow into it. That's the purpose of a spiritual name; to aspire to the heavens and grow into your full potential.
I never had people call me Aruna. It's been a few years since receiving that name and I feel like it's only been recently that I understand the full meaning and how it relates to me. I think that part of my purpose here is to help others find the light in themselves, kind of like a charioteer of light.

So I may never know what's in a name, but I do know that I hope to live up to the names that both my parents and my teacher have given me.

In the mean time, I'll still answer to 'Muffin'.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Old Postcards

An old friend found me on facebook recently.


This is a technological feat that never ceases to amaze me, especially given my Polish maiden name. I haven't heard from this friend in well over 20 years. A whole lifetime.


We had dated when I was in high school; a private, all girl, Catholic institution. I was lost in high school and my art teacher recognized this. She had basically forced me to attend a local theater group to learn backstage skills, hoping I might find a place where I belonged.


I was scared out of my wits that first day. I walked in, completely clad in my plaid uniform, only to find the most diverse group of teens. Truly a real life "Breakfast Club". They were all smarter than I was, all knew each other, and all had previous backstage experience. And I was supposed to fit in there?


The group was led by a student from nearby Wesleyan University. He completely intimidated me. He was a few years older and worldly. He was dynamic. He was comfortable in his skin. He dressed so eclectic. And he expected me to fit in. Just like that. He never treated me any different that the other, cooler kids. So I did belong to this group of misfits and during that school year we produced a couple of plays at Wesleyan's '92 Theater.


I don't remember much about those plays. What I do remember is how the '92 Theater smelled. I can be right in that space by just closing my eyes. It was an old, rambling building with a sprawling basement where we built sets. You could get to the Wesleyan tunnels from the basement. It had an old fashion lighting booth where I seemed to spend most of my time. It's where I learned basic theater skills. And it's where I learned not to "build a boat in the basement", an odd lesson that has stuck with me to this day.



At the end of the year, when all of the plays were done, our group had a party in the '92. We lit up the stage, kept the audience dark and played the music loud. We weren't drinking. It was an honest celebration. I can still see us all dancing on the stage. At some point during the evening I found myself in that light booth with our fearless leader. It was innocent. Just a look that passed between us as we tried to say goodbye. But that look changed everything.


And so a young romance developed. No one in our misfit group knew because the theater season was over. We were an unlikely, taboo couple at best. He was of age; I wasn't. He was in charge; I was his charge. I was white; he wasn't. It probably was only a few months of a relationship, but in our youth, that was forever.


He moved back to New York City at the end of the school year but we continued to see each other whenever we could. One of the things I remember most about this time was waiting anxiously for the mail. He would send me postcards from New York. They were unique, quirky and charming. Almost all were black and white. Vintage cityscapes and old matinee stars. I tacked them to a wall in my bedroom. I would imagine him standing at a newspaper stand trying to decide which one to send me next. There was only a short note on the back of each, but that's all I needed.


The last time I saw him was at South Street Seaport in New York walking away from me in a blue seersucker suit on a hot summer day. I was wearing a a black and white dress.


Sometime at the end of the summer he moved to the other side of the world. I was crushed but there was nothing I could do. So I went from receiving my beloved postcards every few days to receiving mail maybe every couple of months to receiving no mail at all. And that's how it ended. He went on with his life as did I.


I've thought about him on occasion and, truth be told, have even tried to find him on facebook once. When I saw his "friend request" I was shocked. I had to look twice at the name but it was him. All the memories flooded to the surface.


After I accepted his friend request he sent me a message. It was short and heartfelt, just like the postcards. He apologized for hurting me all those years ago. I wasn't expecting that. I was just happy that he had found me.


This got me thinking. Has he been carrying that around with him all of these years? The last thing I ever want to be to anyone is a burden. This recent connection has made me look at my life and realize what an impact this youthful romance had on the relationships that followed. The apology has made me wonder who do I need to apologize to for my past behaviors or choices? Is it ever too late to apologize? And how do you accept an apology for a pain that no longer hurts?


I think it's only a rare few of us who get the chance to apologize. It's an even rarer few that get the chance to forgive. Both of these are acts of Grace and take courage. I'm sure in my youthful, romantic ignorance I hurt him as well. For that, I also apologize. My high school romance has a beautiful family of his own now and lives back in New York. And we are friends once again.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today I went to one of my favorite bargain shops and there they were. The postcards. Thousands of them. Just the sight of them took my breath away like they had in my childhood mailbox over two decades ago. The sign said they had been recently found in a store room in New York City after 20 years of storage. 10 cards for a dollar.

So there we were, the postcards and I, lost and found in the same week.


video

Monday, April 26, 2010

Leaving my Body

After George Harrison died I had read that he was completely ready to leave his body and be with his Lord. Since then, every time I listen to him singing "My Sweet Lord" I can hear that longing in his voice.

I received Shaktipat initiation into my Yoga lineage nearly seven years ago, and since then I have had a growing urge to merge with the Source. And since Yoga's roots come from Hinduism, we hold a belief that there is a cycle of life and death until the soul completes its earthly, karmic work. For the last several years I have been feeling like I am completely done with my work here. It's kind of like "Senior Stretch"; that itching seniors in high school get right before graduation. Most days I feel like I'm done learning and have absolutely no inclination to come back and do this whole human thing ever, ever again.

In fact, my best friend Tink texted me last week that she was excited to have found a tv show about the Mayan 2012 prophecy. (She feels like graduating from human school, too.) As she was watching she was texting me updates on what she was learning. When the show started to explain that the Mayans felt like 2012 was a "time of transformation" thereby equalling the end of current times and not neccessarily THE end of time, she was disappointed. I texted her back, "Crap. This can't be good for either of us." Hey, you gotta have a sense of humor... It's not like we want to check out today; it's just so tiring being human some days.

I had lunch with a friend of mine a couple of years ago and we were talking about death. When I told him that I wasn't afraid of death, it was dying that scared the hell outta me, I basically had to pick his jaw up off of the floor. I think most people are scared shitless of death. For me it's the pain and suffering that scares me.

My mother tells me that my father prayed for only one thing for himself his entire life and that was for a quick and painless death. God granted him this blessing. My father was my first spiritual teacher so to know this about him has given me peace and I, too, pray for the same thing.

I know all of this probably sounds so morbid but my recent preoccupation with moving on actually keeps me grounded, no pun intended. It keeps me clear on what I am doing on this planet each day and helps me to try to make the most of it. Making each moment count is probably the most important lesson of Yoga. Pondering coming back in another body helps me to make better choices, accept and learn from life lessons, and live in integrity and light. I am serious about not wanting to come back in another body so in order to avoid that I want to do it right this time.

Twice during my advanced Yoga teacher training I had out of body experiences. These were the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The second of the two was so profound that I felt that I was actually done and leaving. I was not scared. I had complete divine assurance that my children would be okay if I did leave my body. The thing that scared me was the fact that I wasn't scared. That little thread of consciousness was the only thing tying my pranamayakosha (energy body) to my manomayakosha (physical body). I was in the sweetest state of bliss. That sweetness still lingers in my mouth and it is that nectar that I want to drink for eternity.

So when my number is up, I pray that it is painless and with Grace. I pray that I have completed my tasks assigned to this body. And I pray that my soul is merged into the Universal Source of Light for all of eternity. As you move through your days, cherish your moments. As my favorite singer, Jimmy Buffett, sings "Whether 24 hours or 80 good years, it's not that long of a stay."

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's not you, it's me...

The kids and I were having not such a great morning today.


I have been away on business this week and last night they wanted to stay in bed with me and watch tv. So this morning none of us wanted to get up. We were all dragging our behinds and we were late. Later than usual. And I was using my, "Let's get a move-on!!" voice. Never a pretty sight at 8am.


I didn't go through backpacks last night due to honest laziness. So this morning in our haste and rush I was rifling through backpacks and found a sealed letter on the school's good stationary. I had totally assumed it was about Elijah's moving up ceremony and that was on my mind when I opened this letter.


It was only a couple of sentences but it stopped me in my tracks. And it ended our bad morning.


The letter said that one of my children's classmates had lost their mother to a prolonged illness last weekend and that the children were going to learn about it in school today.


The first thing this news did was send me into sympathy for this child who had just lost her mother. My heart broke for her and although I don't know the family that well, the mother in me wished I could hold this child.


The second thing this news did was send me into gratitude that we were still able to have our bad mornings together. After I told the kids about this and we discussed it the best we could in the moment, the three of us drove to school, late but in gratitude that we were together.


After I dropped them off and kissed them too much I headed to my class. In the car I started to reflect on this. I prayed for this woman that I barely knew. I had seen her about six weeks ago or so in the grocery store and had tried to start up a conversation. All the times I have been in her company was a direct result of our kids' activities, except this time at the grocery store. It was an akward exchange of pleasantries at best as I tried to say something more than hello.


When she walked away I started that whole thing in my head; Why doesn't she like me? What did I say wrong? She must be prejuidiced against my multi-racial kids... And those thoughts kept going. I mean this was fertile ground for my pea-brain and ego. This chicken-sized brain loves to make up these kind of stories. I mean, it's gotta be all about me, right?


So this morning when I'd heard the news of her passing, I realized that she was carrying a burden that I'd had no idea of. What she was going through was way more important than my trivial egocentric thoughts and my grocery store pleasantries. And here I was, a Yoga teacher, and I couldn't hold space for her until today.


There's a saying that goes something like, "Be nice to everyone you meet for you do not know their fight". I think the meaning is deeper. Sometimes being "nice" isn't enough. So the next time you encounter someone and the meeting doesn't go the way your pea-brain wants, try to hold space for them. You do not know what their fight is and you may never know. It's probably not your business to know.


And remember, it's not all about you even when your brain and ego try to convince you of that. So after you read this mindless trivia please send light to a little girl who has lost her mother and to a mother who has gone on a better place.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pixie Dust and Friendship

I found a photo today of my best friend and I taken on the day we graduated from Yoga school nearly 5 years ago.

I came across it as I was cleaning off my desk at home that has laid unused since I opened my studio a couple of years ago. I closed my studio this past week and now that I don't have an office to go to, I am setting up one at home. I put this photo back to it's original spot on top of my desk right below my diploma from Yoga school.

I had made the decision to go to Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health to get my 200 hour Yoga teacher certification over a year before I actually intended on going. It took me that long to plan for a 28 day adventure away from home. My daughter was not quite 3 and my son was 4 when I went away. At the time we owned a home for twelve chronically mentally ill adults. So I basically had to arrange 24 hour care for two children, one husband and our twelve residents for a month. Now you know why it took me a year to plan!

When I made my arrangements to go to school I had decided on a semi-private room. It was for two women; the other would be a stranger unless I knew of someone who was also going at that same time and wanted to spend the extra money for a semi-private room. Like that was going to happen! I had decided to splurge on the semi-private room because I couldn't see myself in a dorm room with 21 other women at age 36.

So, as is typical with my type A personality, I arrived early to get settled and get the pick of beds. I had chosen my bed and put all my stuff away and was checking out the lay of the land on the 4th floor when as I was going back to my room I heard this lilting voice behind me, "Hey there. I think I'm your roommate". I glanced back to see this waif of a thing carrying an enormous wicker picnic basket. And the rest is history.

Enter Tink. Until this point in my life I have only had a handful of close friends. It has never been easy for me to make friends. I'm always worried if the other person is judging me as harshly as I judge myself. So it truly surprised me when after only a few days we were as thick as thieves. One of my first memories was of her birthday which was on our fourth or fifth day there. We gathered around her, all 35 or so of us, and chanted aum to her heart. It was an amazing display of love, full of energy. (Now that I know her better, I have to laugh to myself and wonder how she survived it!!)

We would stay up late at night and laugh til we cried. We would share the most bizarre stories of our lives. We would carry each other up the four flights of stairs to our room after 14 hours of movement with our muscles burning. We would be in our beds at nights in the middle of that hot summer sweating. When we would get up at 5 am each day in order to get to our morning sadhana and she would groggily say as we walked down the hall, "Another day at the coal mine".

That picnic basket was full of her nutritional needs. She warned me it would be like living with a squirrel with her digging in a bag of nuts in the middle of the night. I never minded because she tolerated me sleeping with a stuffed animal as well as my occasional snoring....

One night, on the summer solstice, we walked the labyrinth in the light of the full moon and thousands of lightening bugs. Leading our way was the sound of female African drummers practicing from the main building. It was one of the most powerful nights of my life.

During our time there I nicknamed her "Tink" because she was like a magical sprite; flitting here and there sprinkling her sparkling dust everywhere she went. She seemed to leave a trail of happiness behind her and I couldn't believe that I was the lucky one who got to bask in that light every day and night.

On the day we left we hugged and she looked in my eyes and said, "Lifelong friends".

In all honesty, I was doubtful if we would or could stay as close as we were that June in room 479. This "accidental" friendship forced me to examine how I practiced my friendships. (In Yoga everything is a practice) I was witnessing how she was a friend to me and how she made me want to be a better friend to her.

It's been almost 5 years since the reservation department at Kripalu hooked us up. I had planned my trip there for a year and she had booked hers the week before we got there. So how we ended up together must have been in the Big Plan. We are soul sisters to this day.

She is the person who I can tell absolutely everything to and not be judged. She is the woman who holds space for me. She is the one I can still laugh with til we cry. I never have to explain myself even when she pushes me to go deeper into who I truly am. She is the most amazing woman I have ever met. And she still makes me want to be a better friend every day.

Receiving my diploma and becoming a Yoga teacher that year was one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. Finding a best friend in the process was one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Real Lesson

I only have one more class to teach at my Yoga studio.



Closing it down has been an interesting observation of human behavior. I did all my grieving and mourning when I first made the decision to close down. It was a painful display of boo-hooing, let me tell you. But since the tears dried up and I have come to sweet peace over my decision, I have been observing other people's reactions and then, as a true yogini, my reactions to their reactions.


This has gone from watching students cry over it, "Where am I going to practice?" To the dumbfounded stares, "But it's such a beautiful space." To students bringing in disposable cameras they picked up on the way over to take photos of the space. Oh, and then there's the pout with the "it's too bad it didn't work out" comment attached to the pout.


That last one has been making me laugh. The first time someone said it I had no idea what they were talking about. I actually said, "What didn't work out?" From my point of view, everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to. I did the job that the universe called me there to do. Heal the space.


This was no small job either, by the way. This was a very large space in pain. The space and the students attending there needed healing. I didn't realize this was the job I was called there to do until well after I was already there. That's just the way God rolls with me.


Now, it's not the space or the students who need me. It's me who needs me. That is truly the basis for my decision to close. And although there is part of me who is still melancholy over this transition, I got the ultimate validation last evening during class.


In order to save money on babysitting I bring my children to the studio with me when I teach. They are forced to stay in my little office watching tv or playing their video games. Marley, my 7 year old daughter, likes to do arts and crafts with my office supplies and my 9 year old son, Elijah, usually can't take his eyes off of his DS. In the beginning, they would sneak out of the office to watch my class through the curtains. They would be making noise and I would be panicking, wondering if the students were angry about my kids ruining their peace. After a while, they got used to staying in the office and, truth be told, there have been very few times when they weren't perfect during class.


Last night when we got to the studio my daughter begged me for something she has never begged me for before. She asked to take my class. That old panic set in. What if she got ansty? What would the students think? Ugh. Well, I relented and actually told her yes. She set up her mat, blocks, blanket and pillow. Then she layed down on her mat and fell asleep, during class. When I began to lead class, she would reach out and hold my hand or stroke my arm, while sucking her thumb. So sweet and loving is this girl.


About 45 minutes into class, I heard Elijah sneaking down the long hall. He was trying to get my attention. I was back at that anxiety ridden fear place again. What is he doing? The students are going to get mad. Then I realised that he wanted to join class. He brought down his two blankets and sat down next to me. And he followed along. He was actually following my instruction, something that rarely happens when I am asking him to do chores. He was respectful of the practice, of me, and most importantly, of the students. And when he could, he too was reaching out to touch me.



And there we were, the three of us, facing my students and the students facing back. And it became clear to me. My students are such amazing gifts to me, my own teachers. I love them dearly whether they know it or not. But my children and being the best mother I can be is the sadhana that I was really called to earth for.


So as the three of us held hands and chanted aum, I was truly at peace.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crap

I'm closing my Yoga studio this week.

Yep. Been there, done that. It's really about purging. Getting rid of anchors in my life. I'm a well-known pack-rat so this is a challenge. I'm completely at peace about closing it down. It's the "cleaning up and throwing out" that causes me so much anxiety. Actually touching each piece of paper and thing that has accumulated there over the last two and a half years makes me want to jump off of a bridge. How do we collect so much crap?

When I first really started to practice Yoga, I chose the Yama of Aparigraha as my control of choice; non-hoarding. And let me tell you, as a self-proclaimed pack-rat, this was no easy feat. I was able to begin to really observe how much crap I had but I have never really mastered the art of letting go of the said crap.

And the thing that I'm learning is; I already have what I need. Oh sure, I preach this to my students all the time but I'm a terrible student. I like to learn things the hard way. I didn't even learn this lesson when my sister's home burned to the ground on my 24th birthday and they had nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were all safe but they had nothing.

And now here I am, praying everyday for abundance. I heard myself tell a friend last week, "We have so much crap that we can't even appreciate what we have." WOW! That profound statement actually came out of my mouth????

It dawned on me that to truly have abundance, you have to let go of what is not serving you. Again, WOW.... I mean, I'm a Yankee, born and bred in New England. It is drilled into our heads since we're knee-high to grasshoppers, "Waste not, want not." How come it takes so long for that to sink in?

So, this week I am clearing away crap. Crap I don't need. Crap that will serve someone else better than it is currently serving me. And after I'm done closing down my studio and getting rid of crap there, I will begin to clear out the crap in the rest of my life.

To be continued....

Here's how it all began....

I’m 5’3” on a good hair day. When I began practicing Yoga over 7 years ago, I weighed about 200lbs and was a size twenty. I had just had two children in less than 18 months and was just looking for a gentle way to reclaim my body. Truth be told, I was really looking for some personal quiet time. I had no idea what yoga was. I had never even heard of it.

Yoga came to me as a complete accident of time and place. It was a 20 minute demo for my monthly Women’s Guild meeting at my church. I flat our refused to get on the floor for the demo but was humiliated by the room full of mostly 70-somethings telling me to get down with them. I followed their lead, got down on the floor and was changed forever. I decided to take the plunge and try an eight week session.

I can still recall vividly the terror I felt going to that first class. In fact, I was so scared that a few days before I actually did a dry run to the studio. And then the night of my first class came. I was uncomfortable in my clothes; not sure if I was wearing the “right” things. I was pretty sure that my ugly sweatpants were definitely not the “right” thing. I was petrified about being completely out of place. Do I go early or sneak in late? Where should I sit in class? Would people stare at me? Would I embarrass myself? What if I couldn’t keep up? Would I be brave enough to come back again? And the deafening thoughts went on….

One of the first things that struck me when I got to the studio was that the teacher seemed oblivious to my size. I don’t think she even picked up on my nervousness. I don’t remember too much else about the specifics of that class or the rest of that first eight week session. What I remember most is the sensations I started to feel in my body and distinct thoughts that started to arise.

I specifically remember a posture that my instructor loved to have us do almost every class: standing half moon. I remember one of those first classes and standing in that asana, which I thought at the time seemed to be an easy and harmless position, and tears started to roll down my face. I was overcome with sensation. It was not pain. It was sensation. The fact that I had tears rolling down my face was so startling to me. I knew something was happening to me, but I wasn’t sure what.

But at some point not far after that crying half moon, something miraculous happened. I began to submit. I started to surrender to those sensations. And although I may not have always loved the actual sensation I was experiencing, I learned to love the feeling of being alive in my body; my full body.

After the first eight weeks I still wasn’t sure what yoga was or why I was even going, but it was the dead of winter and I still wasn’t even close to any goals I had for my post-baby body. I convinced myself to hang in for another eight weeks. I figured if I could get through winter maybe I’d see some differences in the mirror.

Here’s what I didn’t count on: The differences weren’t only in the mirror. The differences were that I felt stronger. I had less pain in my body. I was building endurance. And I was actually becoming comfortable in my body. I was excited to go to class. The terror was gone. I was feeling great for about 3 days after class. And the benefits went on…

By this point I was addicted. Yoga was now part of my lifestyle. I became hungry for more knowledge of anything yoga. And I continued practicing. The lessons kept coming. I kept feeding my hunger for more yoga and about a year and half after that first class I received my calling to become a teacher.

Now that I am a full time yoga teacher, this life experience has become my greatest teaching tool. I know what it feels like to be in a larger body that isn’t always accepted in our culture. I know what it feels like to try and hide that body behind clothes and a big smile. And one of the side effects for me in a larger body was to be in my head so much that I couldn’t feel my body. I began to feel alive only when I started to feel sensations and energy moving in my body. This is one of the true lessons of yoga. It has nothing to do with contorting yourself like a pretzel or sporting the newest yoga gear to class. It is about feeling alive in the body you were given and loving that body with all of its’ perceived faults.

If you are a newbie to yoga and you live in a fuller body, have no fear! A good instructor will welcome you with open arms. The other students are not going to care. Find a beginner’s class and do a dry run for yourself. Check out the lay of the studio. Interview the instructor. Ask questions. It’s quite possible the instructor will not fully understand your plight, but a good teacher will understand yoga. And they will help you to find your comfort level. You may not be able to do every posture but you can modify for your body. Don’t be surprised if you have emotional releases. All humans hold old emotion in their bodies. If you have lived hiding your body behind your persona, all of that baggage will start to drop once you start moving your body.

If the thought of going to a class is too much for you, try an online class. Www.YogaVibes.com has many classes to choose from. There are plenty of free vignettes to explore in the privacy of your home. Start where you are. Most of the classes have short free portions so you can get an idea of the pace and style. This is a great place to start for a beginner.
And remember, whether in a class or at home, your full bodied postures will probably not look like the cover of a yoga magazine, but they will be your postures. And they will look beautiful on you!

You can join me and my full body in a Beginner’s Moderate Kripalu Flow Class on www.YogaVibes.com in the Beginner’s Vibe section.