I started doing yoga over zoom with Ample Movement. The teacher is incredible.
- relaxing to listen to
- brilliant about bodies
Have I lucked out with gifted yoga teachers, throughout my life? Yes, I have.
First I did a chair yoga short class with Ample Movement on youtube.
It was great, so I decided to try a zoom class. I signed up for a chair yoga class over zoom. It was amazing. There was me, the teacher, and around four other people. Mostly the other people kept their cameras off.
I liked how chair yoga helped me feel. It was calming to my body and heart warming to do movement in a group again, even over zoom. I felt supported emotionally and respected. I need more fat liberation spaces in my life.
Then the following week, I decided to try the No Kneeling class. It’s a class that generously considers knee health. Yes, in yoga classes over the years, the teacher says it’s time to get on all fours to do cat and cow–I’m like, um….not possible. Even with double mats and a squishy thing for gardening under my knees.
The last yoga teacher I had was at the rape crisis center. She was very thin and didn’t know my knees can’t support my weight like that. I felt sad she paused; I felt guilty for holding up the class.
Wow, the Ample Movement no kneeling class was even better than the chair yoga class. It was me, the teacher, and one other person. We have similar body shapes, and it was funny we had similar hairstyles too! Long hair wrapped up in a chill bun.
Feels wonderful to be a regular person in yoga class, not the person who’s 100 pounds heavier than everyone else and has to amend everything to work for me. I don’t have any yoga certificate or physiology degree, so that situation requires some guessing.
The past year or so, every time I do qigong, there comes a point in the class that I start crying. I’ll do a movement that unlocks a flood of feelings. Feels great to get those feelings unstuck. But I can feel embarrassed to cry when that’s not in the class plan.
Now I cry during yoga sometimes too. During shavasana this last time, I bawled the entire shavasana. I settled in to rest, and I had this super clear memory, realer than reality, of my first yoga teacher who was so kind to me.
There was a class where we were settling in for shavasana at the end, and she quietly brought these bolsters over to me, and helped me get more comfortable. I felt so loved.
Yoga class has been a great way for me to have embodied experiences with other people that are not dangerous. I learn that inhabiting my body around other people can be safe, which is healing. I need happy physical experiences to balance out the traumatic experiences I had as a young person.
So I was having a clear memory of being skillfully loved by my first yoga teacher, around 20 years ago. Then I felt the grief of needing my mom. I wanted her to care for me too. But she is no longer a living person. I was crying with all the grief I hold, about missing my mom and the hellish conundrum of needing someone who is no longer on earth.
Tears were flowing from my eyes and into my ears, as I lay on my back. I was trying to rest and honor my body. The teacher was talking about a breathing visualization, and following our breath. But my breath was harsh, gaspy, and jagged, as I cried with the pain of a motherless child, the confused terror of an abandoned baby.
Crying was a good way to honor my body too.
After class, I told the yoga teacher how I had been so excited to do plank. In the class we did a modified plank–my hands grasped the seat of a chair. I didn’t think I could do it, so when my arms held me up and I was ok, I was amazed. Wow! I had no idea my arms could do that! Thank you, arms!
I was so excited that I could do plank, I had to do it a second time, even though the class has moved into to another asana. When I told the teacher this, she was happy to have helped me have that experience.
I also told her that she helped me learn what my core muscles are. When teachers over the years have said “engage your core” I was never sure where my core muscles are. Weird I never looked it up. But I’m really grateful to know, now.
Thank you to Ample Movement for becoming an important part of my health and my fat liberation. I hope to do yoga with you for a long time, and be kind to my body in new ways.