I just celebrated my one-year house-iversary and my four year Richmond-iversary. I've always been one for reminiscing around milestones, so it's odd that those passed by without a blog post. I go through bouts where I don't feel like writing, I'm busy or trying to write a novel (please don't laugh, it's a dream of mine).
When I came back from Denver, I was creatively charged. At one point of my solo trip, I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens. I sat down across from a succulent in a pot that was elevated on a pedestal. The pedestal was in the center of a garden, with all pathways leading to it, and small shrubs lining the way. I sat down to stare at it for a bit. Then in a notebook I carried with me, I wrote down things like, "Anything can be the center of attention if they deserve it," and "Even a cactus deserves a pedestal now and then."
It sounded a lot more poetic at the time.
But I was really looking within. I was reflecting on loneliness. I was contemplating the meaning of home. Deep in my own self I burrowed. I felt refreshed, independent and ready to achieve my dreams.
Then I got back home and back to the grind: work, sports, social obligations, feelings, commitments, meetings, more travel and pressure. All of my pent up creativity didn't find an outlet: it just left. My zen-like acceptance of myself and self-focus went with it.
What am I supposed to do to maintain it? Travel permanently doesn't sound sustainable. Then I went on Facebook and saw free yoga. I went to free yoga in Church Hill last summer and it was amazing. The instructor was amazing. She said something that I still think of while practicing yoga:
I would leave every night feeling flexible and mentally sound. When I found out that free yoga was back with the same instructor this summer -- and sponsored by King of Pops -- I knew I needed to make it part of my weekly schedule.
Why King of Pops yoga is important
I don't chill out... like ever. When I leave work, I head to the gym or a sport. Then I come home and throw together dinner. After that, I do something useful, like vacuum, dishes, laundry, writing, more work, looking into trips or online purchases or other chore-like activities. If I turn on the television to decompress, I feel guilty for being useless.
It's exhausting. I can't turn off.
But then I go to free yoga.
Let me set the scene for you. Free yoga is hosted every Tuesday at the base of the Carrillon, which is a historical war monument (didn't fact-check that assertion, so don't quote me on it). There are hundreds, no exaggeration, of people of all shapes, ages, colors, genders and abilities. I can't help, but look around and feel immediately inspired. In a world of conflict, free yoga is an all-accepting equalizer. Everyone is united to get their stretch on.
I've heard people remark, "What do King of Pops and the instructor get out of it?" Which is a fair question. I don't think she's making her living off of free yoga in the park. But she gets to be the beacon of light to hundreds of people when they need it. I showed up to yoga after a particularly difficult day at work, and she told us to breathe in and then let it out -- let it all out. Let one thing go.
I let it go. I could literally feel my shoulders loosen from the release of the tension I was carrying. While that still doesn't quite answer the question of what Michelle, the instructor, gets out of yoga, it also does. She gets to help 200 people find their peace. That can't pay the bills, but must feel pretty damn good to be a cornerstone of the community like that.
If you haven't checked out free yoga yet in Richmond, come check it out! It doesn't matter if you are a rubber band or a stick: it's incredible to be part of such a positive community event. And if you aren't in Richmond: find something that inspires you and forces you to relax. Your body and brain need it. And this blog needs it, since King of Pops free yoga seems to be the only thing that gets me creatively flexible these days.