I’ve been doing yoga for 10 years this month.
A full decade.
I still remember my first class like it was yesterday.
Our tiny little farm town got it’s first yoga studio. The owner was a substitute teacher at our school who did cool things like “before the bell meditations”, “zen pen”, and showing “The Grudge” in class…without any of the proper parental waivers. Obviously, she was awesome.
My sister and I woke up early to go to the studio’s first class before school. I don’t remember if it was still dark out or if the sun was rising. In my mind, the drive is always the same: soft, muted grays–as if static came in color. The green of spring. Pinks starting to peal back the sky.
In my mind, I drove–like I’ve driven 1,000 times since. But I know that’s impossible. I was 14 and my sister had just turned 16, which means my dad must have dropped us off. Eventually, my sister could drive us and later I could drive myself.
That morning drive has become sacred to me. It’s a memory I return to again and again when I think of comfort. I would always keep the radio off, so the only sounds were of nature’s morning–and my ’94 Plymouth Sundance rattling up and down the dirt road. Everything felt possible. Nothing felt urgent.
Then there’s the studio door. The towering wooden door with the silver number: 10. The gentle creak, perfect for morning, as the stairs moaned under my feet in agreement. The smell of new paint, gone now, but I still smell it when I return.
We got orange mats out of a closet in the back of the room, a strap, a blanket, and an eye bag. (This was before mat sandwiches and tape marks.) There were three of us in the studio. My sister, myself, and some other woman I didn’t pay attention to.
My teacher sat in front of us and started explaining yoga. I will never forget what she taught me in the first five minutes.
“Here,” she said, “Watch my finger.” as she moved her index finger across her body and back.
Then she asked, “Did you breathe?” None of us had. “This is why we do yoga.” She said.
I felt goosebumps.
I don’t remember too much beyond that point. I know we learned Sun Salutations with the “push a marble with your nose” variation. I remember savasana was the best thing ever and the eye bags smelled amazing. We said “Namaste” at the end of class and it felt so deliciously exotic. So full of unknown promises and ancient secrets.
Class came to end and the sun was fully awake. Buses could be heard grumbling at the stoplight outside. Morning traffic was starting it’s slow commute. And I was wrapped in my sweet yoga cocoon; the juxtaposition of open security, wrapped safely in the the space I was learning to give my body and my mind.
In ten years, the studio has changed. Classes are packed. I see strange faces when I visit. The space has expanded. There are new decorations on the walls, new orientation of the mats, new procedures for check in.
But there’s still the drive, the door, the paint, and the stairs.
There’s still the feeling of security that got me through so much. There’s still a gentleness in the room, like an old, faithful dog, inviting you in as you are to take whatever you need.
There’s still my very first teacher, who never stops being an inspiration and guides me through more than just asanas.
To ten more amazing years, Main Street Yoga.
PS– Tell me all about your first yoga experience!!