JOURNEY TO YOGA by Beth-Ann Belthoff
I began my journey of practicing yoga almost by accident. At the time, I was taking a step-aerobics class at the community center. The instructor had been taking yoga classes and wanted to incorporate some of the postures into our stretch and cool down at the end of class. First introducing us to simple things like child’s pose and happy baby, she gradually infused balance postures and the warrior series. I was hooked.
Immediately I felt centered and more connected to the earth. I remember trying to explain the feeling to my family by saying, “I just feel more grounded.” It didn’t hurt that every time I’d get back into the car, I’d have to readjust the rearview mirror because I was just a little bit taller. Feeling even one-eighth of an inch taller felt pretty good, too, especially when you’re only 5’3’’ and everything feels out of reach!
It didn’t take long to recognize that practicing yoga – just once a week at first – benefited all my other activities. My muscles lengthened, my upper body strength increased, and I realized I was syncing my breath with movement in other classes at the gym. I looked forward to Savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of class. It’s a short rest as you lay on your back. I viewed it as my reward for hard work done to the best of my ability.
Fast forward 20 years and I’m still practicing yoga and looking forward to Savasana. Since moving to Texas, I’ve joined Shaka Power Yoga. Jenny Normand has created a vibrant Ohana, or family, that lifts you up, starting the moment you enter the studio and are greeted by name. Practicing with Jenny and each of the amazing teachers at the studio has brought my practice to a higher level.
The repertoire of classes offered at Shaka Power Yoga has also shown me that yoga is more than sun salutations and warrior poses. Some of the classes include Ashtanga Chikitsa, a sequence of poses to build strength and flexibility; Pele’s Sequence, a heated yoga class, Sup Yoga, which is yoga on a surf board; Nanea, a gentle stretch and relaxation just before bedtime; Breath class; and even a music meditation known as a sound bath. Each time I leave class, I feel I’ve learned something new, about yoga and about myself.
It’s a little over a year since I started practicing with Shaka Power Yoga. With the guidance and encouragement of everyone there, I’ve gained the courage to step out of my comfort zone and attempt poses I might not have otherwise considered. Just recently I managed to hold side crow for more than a few seconds. A few more attempts and I should be able to cross that off the list of things to accomplish in 2021!
Whether you are new to yoga, a Yogi Guide or somewhere in between, you’ll find that Shaka Power Yoga offers classes to suit everyone. I look forward to continuing my journey and seeing you on the mat.