On a recent Sunday morning, I attended a yoga class in a new timeslot, and I saw the sky for the first time in Half Moon.
I have always been a sky watcher.
Really, not a day goes by when I do not look up and note the sky.
I love clear blue skies, dark and dangerous skies and white cloudy skies.
I especially like the night sky and have always stopped to look up at the stars.
I have watched the constellations appear on one end of the sky and later in the night make their way to the other end.
And the moon! My favorite!
On fall nights when there is a Harvest moon, or on winter nights when the Crescent moon comes close to Venus, it is standard operating procedure for me to text my children who live a few hundred miles away and ask, See the moon?
On this recent Sunday, my family was in town, and so I was off my usual schedule. I waited to see what everyone was doing and found myself available at an unusual time.
I left the house quickly, not even signing up for the class which had already begun when I arrived.
Usually, I try to attend what I consider to be the most challenging classes. I like the big movements and the hard flows. I want to really sweat and sail high-speed to the end.
The instructor pointed to one of last two available spots, and I grabbed my mat and quietly placed it down in a corner with no mirror. The room was hushed, the music was soft, and everyone was holding a pose.
I quietly joined in.
This class was listed as All Levels; however, it seemed to lean towards more of an introductory class.
The instructor described every move, explained and demonstrated some basic poses and took us into the binds in baby steps.
A week or so earlier, I had asked him about advancing in yoga.
How am I supposed to get better? I had asked. Do people just take classes for years and years and get better like that?
My practice felt stuck.
I missed what it felt like in the beginning; that excitement in learning and in attempting a pose and finally accomplishing it.
Everything was new to me then.
For you, he said, it would be about the energetics, and we will practice that today.
I had no idea what energetics were, but during the class that followed, my instructor led us through the flow with incremental directions.
In Warrior II, he told us to feel the energy up the front leg beginning at the big toe.
He asked us to feel the outside edge of the back foot and note the energy running up that leg to meet the other.
He talked about Mula Bhanda and lifting the pelvic floor.
In Pyramid pose, he told us where to place our right hip, our left hip, our sacrum. We were instructed to feel the scissor action in our legs.
My practice took on another dimension. I took note of the little movements as well as the big ones; my body was more engaged than ever before.
Surprisingly, my practice deepened even further on that Sunday when I showed up at an odd time and found myself in a quiet corner of a more entry level class.
This class was all about the energetics. I was challenged by the more deliberate movements into each pose, and I eagerly absorbed the instructions on how build and hold the poses, too.
It was through these slow and considered motions that I was able to find the stability and strength that had eluded me in Half Moon for more than a year.
For the first time, instead of looking down or sideways while holding the pose, this sky watcher was finally able to lift her eyes upwards.
A major event for me in that quiet corner!
It was as if going back to the beginning had brought me further along.
During that Sunday morning yoga practice, looking up seemed to take every single muscle from my toes to my fingers and throughout my core.
I wondered if maybe my instructor had always outlined these energetics, or baby steps, and if I might have been remiss in tending to them.
I am often guilty of having too many ants in my pants during my practice.
This time, though, there were no ants marching.
Slowing down invited a deeper practice and helped me find the sky.