Sunlight streams through the window while rhythmic New Age music fills the air. This is the atmosphere specially created by Stephanie Churchill for yoga practice. It is the early morning, and a fresh chance to shape ourselves for the coming day. What kind of person will we be today? Generous, kind, and humane? The yoga space is ripe with possibilities. It has been too long since I have practiced yoga, yet I sense a new beginning with Stephanie’s expert guidance.
Stephanie begins with meditation and breathing suggestions that form the backbone of the session. Her calm voice encourages the deep breathing that has me inhaling the good and exhaling the toxic. With each breath I feel more centered in my body and more relaxed for the workout to follow. On a spiritual plane, every inhale invigorates my life force for good, and every exhale sheds the negative energy that keeps me from being all I want to be. I meditate, like many others, with eyes closed. I follow Stephanie’s beautiful narrative and breathing suggestions. She suggests that my inhales be white light that I guide to my body’s center. I cheat here. I direct the white light of breath to far reaches of my body, that have been neglected of deep breathing for far too long.
Stephanie segues from meditation and gentle stretching to some more formal postures. She alternates more strenuous postures with relaxing ones, giving my body a respite and my mind precious moments to ponder the postures. At different moments, Stephanie interrupts her own practice to ensure that my positioning is the most that it can be for me. Sometimes she is a brace, and sometimes she lengthens and coaxes a stretch. Stephanie intuits easily when I need an assist.
As the session moves forward, Stephanie juxtaposes the positions of downward facing dog to the cobra. My mind is an empty slate, but then I reflect upon the rich imagery of these positions. I think of the submissive dog, bowed low, simultaneously humble and regal, and intensely loyal. Then I bring to mind the cobra, strong and proud, crown reaching toward the sky, vertebrae elongated. With these two images in my mind, I form the positive intention to live my day with both humility and strength.
Thank you, Stephanie for a meaningful reunion with yoga practice!