by Robin Boland
Earlier this year I wrote about developing coping mechanisms for 2017 and I’m back to share some of my experiences trying to implement my own advice. While my reading intake and knitting output have both increased my anxiety about the direction we’re headed has not been successfully decreasing.
I wanted to obtain some tangible tools to calm myself amidst the turmoil of our daily endeavors so I reached out to Dee at Kanjin Yoga in Hillman City. Dee’s space turned out to be an excellent place for me to take my own advice.
What I found when I began attending classes at Kanjin was a welcoming, warm space with room for everyone, regardless of skill level. What I did not find there was judgment, impatience or criticism. It truly is open to everyone and the practice can be tailored to meet your needs. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace and seek the support needed without shame (I often use the wall for balance during tree pose).
Dee shared with me that she spent many years developing her own practice and the vision that became her Hillman City studio. She was us, rushing from work to grad school to family responsibilities, trying to fit her love of yoga practice into her crushing schedule.
She found that the daily practice changed her, strengthened her and eventually led her to realize her vision of sharing those strengthening techniques with the community through her studio.
The first day I attended class at Kanjin I had received some sad and disturbing news midway through my work day. While I had every intention of sticking to my plan of attending the gentle yoga class (held on Monday and Wednesday evenings) I was feeling very fragile and on edge.
The class began with greetings among the small gathering of women (men are absolutely welcome as well) and then moved into focusing on our breathing, intended to help us ground and center ourselves. Less than halfway through my first class I was silently leaking tears and trying to breathe through the heaviness I felt in my heart.
If ever there was a room full of strangers to cry in front of this was it. I was welcomed and gently checked up on (“doing okay?”) but not expected to be or do anything more than I could be or do in that moment. I truly appreciated that soft landing into this new practice and while I would never willingly choose to weep in front of strangers I was able to leave the class feeling cleansed and with a brief glimmer of the core of the practice.
Since then I’ve attended more classes and have begun to see more clearly what I glimpsed that first night. The core of the practice, what you find through breathing and poses is…you. You are what you find in this space to take your own advice. As an added bonus I feel taller and stronger after class at Kanjin, a welcome feeling after a day at my desk.
If you are one of the crowd rushing from responsibility to responsibility (work, school, protest, parenting, etc.) I highly recommend taking a few moments to find a space such as this in which you can breathe.
Robin Boland is a resident of the Brighton neighborhood