Reluctant Riser Part III: Deep Sigh Yoga
I thought I was moving only slightly out of my comfort zone when I selected two yoga-ish classes to attend during my Weekend Getaway. The weekend isn’t yoga-centered; it’s yoga-optional, and I’m neither a yoga devotee nor skeptic, I like a good stretch and appreciated having the time to be led for an hour.
My first class was Buti Yoga — a primal movement class. I spent the hour in a wood-paneled performance space with women of all shapes, sizes and levels of coordination. We stretched and gyrated and moved and sweat in ways that were a strange and ecstatic combination of challenging and liberating. The teacher directed us to have our backs to the mirror so we could aim to be less inhibited. It was a joyous and invigorating hour that did poke my version of myself and remind me to move the way my body intuitively loved to move.
In my other yoga class, Deep Sigh Yoga, I planned on relaxing. It was, after all, a late afternoon yoga class centered on breathing – which, to me, was translation for naptime. Early in the class, Tami guided us in the audible breathing which is, as you can guess, the central characteristic of Deep Sigh Yoga. She instructed us to take a long, deep breath in and then to let it out ….loudly. Picture yourself taking a deep breath and then uttering “ahhhhhhhhhhhh”. Well, the sound in the room as we all exhaled the ahhhh of “aha” without the “ha” was a powerful cross between a cow’s utterance and a human moan.
While I’m a generally animated person who isn’t timid about speaking, I did not expect to be skittish about my own body’s noise. But when guided to make this very loud sigh, I realized my own discomfort with my own body’s natural sounds — I didn’t like to hear my own exhalation! I was shocked at my own inhibition. But there was something, dare I say, transformative, about closing my eyes and following the direction to breathe in and exhale deeply —- up and out my throat —- in the loud and unfiltered, and yes, funny way.
Why was I embarrassed about my body making a sound? Of having others hear me? After the class, I pondered my internal cringe reaction and have honestly taken steps to be less worried about my body’s sounds. This very simple thing of breathing out loud is something, both literally and symbolically, I have integrated into my life. During other workouts and just moments when I need to let it go (which, during pandemic lock down there were many), I let out a deep, loud exhale. As I do, I remind myself to shed some of my hesitance and to let go. And rather than default to reluctant, I Rise.
The Reluctant Riser is anonymous but will be at the 2021 Weekend Getaway!