Saturday, October 06, 2007
Good Bye Yoga Friends
Over the past three and half months I've had the honor and privilege to guide a great group of yogis along a fantastic journey. Four days a week we all met up in a non-descript room inside Saddam's Palace at, for most, a god-awful time of day. 0600...or 6AM...or WAY TOO EARLY FOR MOST!
It started out as a half joke. When I moved from Freedom Radio to Freedom Journal Iraq, my hours seriously changed. I went from going to work at 4:30AM and getting home around 3:00PM to going to work at 7:30AM and not returning until sometimes 10:00PM. I was missing all of the evening Yoga classes and with the extra stress that comes with running a news section...I NEEDED TO RELAX and get back into YOGA! So I told my friend Elisa who works for Morale Welfare and Readiness...MWR for the folks who serve, they should get someone to teach a morning yoga class. Jokingly I said if needed I could teach. She said, "REALLY?" I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Sure!" Two weeks later, I was teaching a yoga class. Well, I think the first two or three weeks, my good friend, and Air Force Mom, Melinda Morgan was teaching the class. You see Melinda is a Yogi. She has been teaching for years and is well on her way in your yoga journey. I asked if she could help and within a few days, she sent me a one hour class...complete with movement and breathe cues. It wasn't long before I had enough people in the class that we made the Saturday class a more advance class. More and more people who had never worked out before, let alone practice yoga kept coming out. Not pictured is a man who should be an inspiration for all. Bill, my Silver Fox, is in his late-60's. The oldest of three brothers. Never was into working out. All of his brothers lettered in at least two sports. Now, late in life, giving all that's left to help out the people in Iraq, he decided he'd finally try this yoga thing everyone is talking about. With no alarm clock to wake him, Bill routinely came to the class, asked great questions, and with some modifications, learned a basic routine which undoubtedly will change his life.
On average 8 folks would come out to the class. However, there was a strong core of friends who came out routinely. Dave, Kristen, Jeff, Kathryn, and Bill (Silver Fox) My Chief would come out every Friday! He swears he's and inch taller now. Toward the end of my tour Diane, Jenna, Pallas, and the Sgt Major came out. The last two were a hoot, they're from Boston. As many of you know I'm a sucker for an accent. I could listen to them talk for hours!
Here is a picture of my core four performing a headstand. From left to right: Dave (DoD Civilian), Jeff (Army Colonel) Me, (Totally low man) Kristen (Air Force LtCol), and Kathryn (DoD Civilian and retired Air Force). This was like the fifth or sixth picture...We just couldn't sync!
Turns out, leading a yoga class is very tough! In yoga you breath in and out of your nose...try doing that and talk at the same time...It took me a bit to learn how to master that skill. Balanced Airplane...also not that easy. We tried to take it up a few notches on the Saturday class. Some Saturdays turned into more of a laugh fest than actual yoga as we'd spend more time falling all over the place in an attempt to perform more advanced yoga poses.
To the left is one of my favorite poses and vinyasas: Triangle Pose, which I linked with Warrior 1, 2, Reverse Warrior, Pyramid, and Side Straddle Fold. When you link several poses together in a logical flow its called a vinyasa. This is a very powerful vinyasa! Today I introduced the class to several other poses including Revolved Triangle. Most poses you can "revolve: which basically means: keep feet in place and switch hands and direction you're twisting. The best thing about yoga is it's not a competition. You don't have to do what the instructor or others are doing. You do what your body allows.
I had only these three resolutions this year. Yoga is fantastic! It helps with my ADD, it adds balance, it does wonders for your core strength, and generally changes your over-all quality of life. No matter what sport you're into...yoga and help your game. Besides...what I really like about yoga...I get to sleep the last 10-15 minutes of the class...NOW THAT IS SOMETHING EVERYONE LIKES TO DO!