Monday, May 1, 2017

A Journey to California - Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

When somebody tells you that yoga is bigger than ever in Southern California, they are not lying! So Dan and I recently made the trip cross-country to meet with the owners of our current Featured Studio of the Month, Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks, CA. As someone who had never been west of Pennsylvania, I suddenly found myself flying on a jet and riding with Dan up the Pacific Coast highway, navigating the locations of each yoga studio we had planned to to visit. It was an amazing adventure to see such a thriving yoga community in the L.A. area. We made some new friends, and also hit Wanderlust 108, the 2-Day yoga festival taking place on the Santa Monica Pier. What a fun scene, and again, we met some very positive people. I was in a new place that was worlds away from the east coast; however, I felt happy and safe, immersed in a familiar community of yoga friends. I was met with the affirmation that yoga is yoga wherever you go.

On the last day of our trip. Dan took his first-ever yoga class. It was prior to taking the photos for our site and it was something he had wanted to try, especially now that he was the partner in a yoga business. But there were undercurrents of doubt getting in the way, and I know this is not uncommon. There have been many times when friends have asked me for my class schedule and expressed wanting to join my classes - and right up until the very last minute, they would have every intention to try yoga for the first time before changing their minds. I saw that Dan was no different as he wavered on the thought of trying yoga. After weeks of thinking and talking about it, Dan made the decision that he would take his first class in California. We tried to find the most beginner class we could, and we decided that the Basics class taught by Dani at Black Dog seemed to be the one. Dan did a great job finding his way through Dani's beautiful and challenging 85-minute session of long-hold, alignment-focused hip and hamstring openers. It was very intense, and more than once I was concerned that Dan might roll up his mat and head for the door. But he stuck it out and ended up really enjoying the surprise, delight, and reward that yoga often brings. All of his never-having-practiced-yoga-before-jitters were alleviated (and sweat out!) during that class, and now, like many yoga students, he is on his journey, and looking forward to trying another class soon. Sometimes the hardest part is just showing up.

Now that we are back home from California, it is a time to reflect. With my flying and traveling jitters behind me, I am once again safe in my house with my family and my regular, and rather unadventurous, life. It is hard to believe that just a few days ago, I was that far west of Pennsylvania! And Dan, a much more experienced traveler than I, had had his own journey jitters. Yet he stepped onto the mat and embraced whatever it was that was holding him back. I'm excited to see where yoga takes him. As for myself, I am in no rush to travel that far from home again any time soon, but it no longer seems out of the realm of my comfort zone.

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