“Welcome Tim. Great to see you today. Are you ready to begin your Wii yoga lesson?” The lilting words emanated from the sound system of my television a few years ago. And there I was... geared up in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and shoes... yes, shoes. I know, I know... no rightfully respected yogi or yogini wears shoes to practice yoga. But I didn’t know that then (and who knows maybe it’s a whole new statement to be made). And at the moment in time, they offered me stability and more support for my weak ankles. I could rock out the tree pose like no body’s business. And the boxer shorts... well, it was in my basement on a Monday morning... they were comfy.
And here I am today... a teacher of yoga after two years after moving to Vancouver and discovering more about alignment, anatomically connective tissues, fascia and deep front lines. Gone, are the days of watching the little red dot wavering erratically in a larger yellow circle and having a pinging timer keep track of my stability and length of the pose. Gone are the running shoes, but I do still practice in my underwear sometimes. Hey, they’re comfortable AND they keep things where they’re supposed to be.
After a while of actually joining in on group classes of hot yoga, as my first introduction to the Vancouver yoga world, and now teaching the slow practices of yoga, Yin and Restorative, I see and feel the benefits greatly. Being a part of a group of people that are there to not only feel differently, physically and mentally and emotionally, but to share in a group event of support and camaraderie. We all have the tools and avenues of practicing yoga on our own time, in our own homes, in our own attire... but we also have these beautiful avenues that draw people together into a community as well.
When I reach back to those memories of hearing my Wii coach guide me into a pose and giving me a “Way to go Tim” when I did something well, I relate a lot to how classes are taught today. How we can create a greater sense of inclusion for those people that have never tried yoga before. We go back to those moments and feelings of insecurity and fear... am I doing this pose right, am I feeling the way I’m supposed to be feeling, did I put on my good underwear today... just in case the elastic band is showing over my shorts. We all get to start somewhere and share our knowledge of “coming out as a newbie yogi”. If we don’t share what we enjoy doing... we probably won’t be doing it much more in the future.
So if you don’t have the matching water bottle, mat, fingernail polish and outfit - don’t worry. If you’re downward facing dog is looking a little tired and boxy... rock it out to the best of you can do. Practice makes better and the more you get to practice something you love, the more you’ll want to play and get involved with an amazing community of yogis...
...who all started from somewhere. Maybe even on a Wii.