On Growing

I rolled out my mat onto the floor in a new studio on Friday. In Boston, of all places. But the teacher was not new. I looked over to watch him start the class, so casual and so welcoming, and smiled. It was good to see an old friend, a teacher who had impacted my practice in a profound way. Someone who I still think of often in practice, as I flatten my back in a particular way, or do certain poses. It is muscle memory and emotional memory and the mark of truly good teaching - that I carry with me still.

I certainly came to this class a different practitioner - one year further into a journey that I began three years ago. Stronger, happier, more whole in my view of myself.

And yet, as we spent the next 75 minutes together, I realized that I was not the only one that had changed and grown over the past year. The practice was different - a good kind of different - but the heart of it was the same: spot-on alignment, a focus on going after what your body needs versus what your mind wants, and a calm gentleness.

It is funny how change is really just finding our truer selves.

How often in yoga, do we look across a room and feel like we are looking at a mirror?

To realize, so completely, that we are all growing. That coming back, not to home, but to comfort, is one of the greatest gifts of our practice. That our own growth is often shaped by others who are doing the same thing.

So different. So similar.

And as we hung in a forward-fold straddle, I felt a familiar hand on my back - a signal to breathe further and bigger into a tight space. How is this, now? He said. I smiled. He remembered that small but tender tightness that I still can't forget.

I landed in Boston this week with an undeniable realization that I was now a visitor, not a resident. And that perspective causes you to see things with new eyes. You lose the want to take it with you, and you gain the hope that it STAYS with you.

This is growing. And release.

This gift of yoga.

The comfort of here, but not home.