Why YOU should try a 6:30 am yoga class at Empower!
So, 6:30 am classes, multiple times per week, can be challenging to commit to as a participant and as an instructor. And for every excuse there is to not come to class, my Monday and Wednesday 6:30 am classes always give me three reasons I need to roll out of bed in time to get myself instructor ready …
Female One, a true competitor, who I first met at a community yoga class at Lululemon, was new to yoga and was giving it a try to help her train for her first half ironman. Always the first to correct my cues (which, I admit are often confused at 6:30 am), she is inspiring to me in a way that no other yogi has provided. Her dedication, attention to instruction, willingness to try when it is right and back off when it is appropriate is so natural. Her internal voice is so strong and so on target, I often think of her when I feel my own ego pushing my practice further than it should go on any given day. A perfectionist, Female One has grown her practice so much by breathing and accepting that her body’s interpretation of a pose is the perfect interpretation. The beauty of her practice amazes me daily.
Female Two, a past gymnast and avid runner now training for the Boston Marathon, is most similar to me in terms of sharing a similar past experience in athleticism. Female Two and I have the ability to move our bodies into positions that others take much longer to gravitate toward, in large part because of our experiences with gymnastics. Female Two and I also share a competitive nature with ourselves that can be a yogi’s worst enemy. Watching her work through some injuries and hold back from doing things she knows she can do, but that she is purposefully not doing for the long-term improvement of her skeletal and muscular bodies is inspiring. Those of you who know what I’m talking about know just what I’m saying here … someone who holds back in the present in order to find a more stable alignment in the future is nothing short of amazing! And on mornings when I want to offer that next variation of a pose, I think of Female Two and often stop because she has taught me that one of the responsibilities of a teacher is to know when to say when by listening to our students with the same intensity we ask them to listen to themselves. The patience and grace that is demonstrated on the mat is nothing short of breathtaking.
Female Three, an artist at heart, is probably the class member who has surprised me the most. I was convinced after her first class with me that she hated my teaching style and that I had turned her off yoga forever. But, then one day she wondered back to class. And she kept coming back. The first of my students to cry on the mat (don’t worry, she knows that is a good thing!), she has an openness that is unrivaled. I distinctly remember watching her work through a particularly difficult beginner pose and observing just how close she was. I also felt her frustration … everyone else in the class appeared to be flying into the pose with ease. Though the secret she was not let in on was that they had each struggled just as she was. I felt challenged to come up with a class sequence that would present the pose in just the right light so that everything would click for her. What she taught me in this class, as it happened, was that people get the pose when they get the pose. No matter how close I see them to reaching the pose and no matter how much I want to will them into it it is their shift, their practice, their moment to settle into. That day when she settled in, I saw a change in confidence and attitude that was sublime. And, now, each class she comes to she is the first to let go and flow.
Having said that, even more impressive than the poses that these women have grown into, because yoga is not about the pose, is the sense of community that they have cultivated. No matter what, they show up to class, leave whatever it is they are struggling with at the door, settle in, talk to each other, ask questions, and somehow are able to sense the shifts that each is experiencing on the mat.
A small group, we have become friends, cheerleaders, active participants in the personal, emotional and physical development of each person who walks through the door, a regular, an occasional student, or a person brand new to Empower Personalized Fitness – Durham, you are welcomed to the fold. And, what an amazing fold it is …
When I look at 6:30 am, suddenly it doesn’t seem so intimidating! Feeling inspired? Please join us Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:30 am – 7:30 am at Empower Personalized Fitness, Durham. Yoga not your thing? No worries, Empower Durham and Raleigh have 6:30 am classes five days a week … check out our class schedules at www.becomepowerful.com.
See you on the mat!
RJ is a member of International Association of Yoga Therapists, Yoga Alliance and is CPR AED certified. RJ holds a 200-hour Prana Flow® teacher certification from Evolve Movement, Raleigh, NC and is working toward her 1000-hour certification in yoga therapy through a combination of intensive study with Joseph and Lillian LaPage at Kripalu and internships. Additionally, RJ holds a Bachelors of Arts in English with a minor in Creative Writing from West Virginia University.