The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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Stretch. Breathe. Focus.

Carolyn B. Edwards

I can't believe that it has been a year since I started practicing yoga!

Without a doubt, it is the best gift I have ever given myself.

My back feels better. Anger and stress are more easily managed. There has been a gentle transformation of my brain and body.

I study with Willie every Monday morning at 10 am at the Silver Sage Corral. The class lasts for about an hour and 15 minutes - one hour of yoga poses and 15 minutes of lying still, quieting the mind. Those last few minutes are probably the most valuable of the entire class.

If you get to class a little early, you will likely get a quick little back rub from Willie as he moves swiftly around the room, sharing the healing power of touch.

The class is not a competition, as he frequently says, and it is a multi-level class. Some students have been practicing for a long time. They are strong and flexible and seem to have no trouble doing the stretches, the balance poses and the power poses.

They breathe deeply and release the breath in extremely long ah-hhhhhs!

The rest of us are just beginning - we're old, we hurt. We stretch as far as we can this week and maybe next week we'll be able to stretch a little farther. Or maybe not. It doesn't matter. Everybody does what he can.

During the first session I attended, we did a balance pose that concludes with the student standing on one foot, raising the other behind, and then stretching the arms wide, and, as Willie says, "consider taking flight!" I couldn't get that back foot off the floor for longer than two seconds.

Today, I can "fly" for several exhilarating moments, and I like to start my day at home by "flying."

We spend a lot of time emphasizing our breathing, bringing life-giving oxygen into our bodies. Exhale, inhale, hold the breath, breath of fire, exhale, ahhhhhhh! Wooo-hoo!

The power of yoga comes from focusing on the pose and on the breath. When concentrating on what the body is doing, the mind cannot busy itself with all those little day-to-day aggravations that take over the thought processes.

Yoga has to do with seeking a unity within; developing a unity with the spiritual core of being.

While Willie does not emphasize any particular kind of faith path, the practice of yoga, with its calming and focusing of the mind, will strengthen the faith walk if that is the goal of the practitioner.

Classes are $5 each and $2 of that goes to the Corral. Join us for a better you in the new year.