My first experience with yoga was a near-religious one. There is really no other words for it, though I am not religious at all.
It was one of those lazy early evenings at the beach in Italy – the waves were lapping softly against the shore, everything was coloured gold by the setting sun, the few people left on the beach were dark silhouettes against the sky, and everybody was speaking softly after a long, white-hot day under the sun. I was about to pack up my stuff and go home too, my friends had gone home a little while ago to get ready for the evening; I was still working in clubs back then.
I was just getting up, when the owner of the bar on the beach, a big curly-headed bear of a guy, Alessio, walked up to me and asked me if I wouldn’t stay for the yoga. A small group of people did yoga on the beach once in a while, and they were just about to start. I told him I had never done yoga before, and he told me it didn’t matter, he would guide me and I should just focus on my breathing and on feeling the flow of energy.
So I joined them.
I seemed to get the hang of it immediately, maybe because I have been working with my body for so many years, I am very conscious as to what’s happening physically. I remember feeling the flow of my breath, a rhythm that soon set itself, in through the nose, out through the mouth. I copied the positions Alessio made, and he spoke out loud to tell us what kind of stretch we were doing; it seemed to me to be just another dance, what with the fluidity of the movements between poses and the grace of it all.
I couldn’t close my eyes to concentrate more, but I remember that the golden light and that slight breeze didn’t take away my concentration, it wasn’t cluttering my focus, it seemed to be a natural setting to the whole thing.
I remember feeling heat spreading through my body, my breath getting deeper and slower and I seemed to be tingling all over with energy. Soon I wasn’t thinking anymore, I was deeply concentrated on what I was feeling. It was effortless, it was as if I had been doing this forever, my concentration wasn’t thought-related, it was as if I had no thoughts anymore, I had become all breath, senses, heat and energy.
We finished lying on our backs, eyes closed, to just breathe. I remember opening my eyes and watching the sky. Tingling all over, hot, hot, hot and breathing as deeply as if I was sleeping. I looked at the sky and the clouds were churning, moving against the sky; I had never seen anything like it, I had never felt anything like this, I felt like I was hallucinating, my senses seemed to be enhanced incredibly.
Alessio sat down next to me, softly touched my arm, and said “wow, you look like you felt this, eh ?” and I looked at him in awe. My vision seemed to have changed, the world seemed crisp around the edges, and more colourful. I was suddenly very aware of the breeze, the salty smell of the ocean, and the sand getting cooler under my body. I lay there for another twenty minutes or so; to get myself together, and then I went home.
I still don’t know what happened. I have little pet theories, there’s probably explanations to it, but it is not really important. What *is* important, is that I started doing yoga again.
I’ll let you know =)