Dangerous Compassions


Little-known facts about Laura-Marie…when I was a teenager, I bought a cardboard box of books from a stranger.  Maybe it was ten dollars.  In the box was a book called Nova Yoga.  It was a yellowing mass-market paperback from the 1970s.

I read the book and started doing yoga in my bedroom on the blue shag carpet before school in the mornings.  I liked how it made me feel.

Then when I was a young adult first moved to Sacramento, I needed to take care of myself more.  I looked up yoga classes and somehow decided on a Dharma Yoga class at the Sierra 2 Center.  It was far from home.

Don’t know how I worked up the bravery to walk into my first class.  I weighed at least a hundred pounds more than anyone else there.  The other students were small retired white ladies.  It was a morning class.

Well, it turned out I found the perfect teacher for me.  Patient, caring, compassionate.  She worked with me.  We became friends–I brought her zines.  (Later I found out Ming knew her also, having taken a meditation class from her.)

I ran out of money and stopped going to yoga, but I went for a good couple years.

Years later I did some yoga at Wellspring Women’s Center for free.  There was a good teacher there, and then I had a drill sergeant teacher who was terrible for me.

Then I joined this co-op studio called Yoga Seed–I did the 30 days for thirty dollars deal.  They had an All Bodies class I loved.  There was even someone in a wheelchair in that class.  I felt totally welcome.

That was great for me, but again, ran out of money.  I have never been gainfully employed in my life.  Yoga Seed said, pay what you can–if you can’t afford it, come anyway.  But in reality it was emotionally weird and of course they wanted you pay–I never went without paying.

A few summers ago, Ming and I were staying with my parents on the coast, back when my dad was still alive.  Ming and I joined a yoga studio with the 30 days for thirty dollars deal.  We went to some good classes there, consistently attending a chair yoga class, and I learned I liked doing yoga with Ming next to me.

Again I had to be brave to walk in, but I’ve never had a yoga teacher bat an eye at my size.  I don’t know if I’ve lucked out, or if they get trained not to bat their eyes or what.

Since moving to Las Vegas I’ve attended a chair yoga class geared toward seniors, maybe 50 people in the class?  It was low cost, but I didn’t like the teacher at all, and it was maybe 40 minute’s drive away in Henderson.

I love yoga for all sorts of reasons.  I like the breathing.  I like how it’s meditative and calming yet strengthening.  I like concentrating for an hour or however long, and the process of a class, working from warming up to shivasana.  I like the feeling that I’m doing something good for myself.  I like trusting a teacher.

Most of all, I like being in my body, inhabiting my entire body in a happy way.  Most of the time I go around very cerebral.  Well, I have a lot of feelings too.  But all the work I do is with my mind, you know, being a writer.  It’s easy for me to kind of ignore my body.  But when I do yoga, I’m blissfully living in it entirely.  My consciousness fills my body.

The only exercise I like is yoga and dancing.  I used to like walking but not as much anymore.

Except for as a teenager, I’ve never managed to do yoga at home.  I hope one day I feel the spaciousness.  Our house right now, it’s small and has too much stuff in it.  I daydream about clearing out a room to be a yoga room, but it’s hard to manage.  With only space heaters in the winter and swamp coolers in the summer, it’s seldom a comfortable temperature.  The house is a struggle.

Sometimes I do tadasana, in everyday life, mountain pose, feeling my strong mountain energy.  Well, am I doing it right?  Probably not.  But something like it.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “yoga”

I discovered yoga for the first time last year. I went to a couple of kundalini yoga classes. I liked the way yoga could subtlety shift my mood. Giving me a different experience of life. Since then I have completed a beginners class/course. I also signed up for a pass £30 for 30 days. I went to another Kundalini class last night and tomorrow I’d like to do yin yoga.

I really like yoga!

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