The journey to yogastalgia was worth it | AspenTimes.com

The journey to yogastalgia was worth it

Alison Berkley
Aspen CO, Colorado

“Now put your head between my legs like I’m giving birth to you,” Amanda said.

Had it been anyone else, I certainly would not have. But for some reason I trust Amanda. I trust her enough to let her “fly” me, a technique she learned at a yoga workshop in Mexico a few months ago. She lies on her back and lifts me with her feet pressed against my hips, just like you do with little kids. Then she has me hanging upside down with my feet spread apart for balance. She pushes my head between her legs so my arms are on either side and starts to give me a massage while simultaneously stretching me as I’m hanging off her feet. It feels so good I close my eyes and don’t notice or care about the people in the studio who are gawking at us, wondering if we are crazy, lesbian, or both. I could hang there all the livelong day.

When she puts me down, I want to lie down next to her and say, “hold me,” but I don’t.

If you told me a year ago I’d be open enough to enjoy an experience like that, I wouldn’t have believed you. I probably would have said something like, “That’s not the way I was raised,” or “It’s just not part of my makeup,” and it was true. Then.

Let’s just say I never was encouraged in the areas of anything spiritual, religious, or alternative. My parents were self-proclaimed atheists who were all about education, prone to making statements like, “stop talking like that. You sound like your crazy Aunt Carol,” whenever my brother or I would become interested in anything remotely deep.

So needless to say I kicked and screamed through my yoga teacher training, mostly fighting with my mom’s voice in my head, saying things like, “oh, come ON.”

It’s been a year since I left for teacher training and all of a sudden I’m riddled with yogastalgia. After a year of pulling my hair out over all the money and time I’ve spent in a room heated to 105 degrees, I’ve decided this was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I even miss it.

All of a sudden I find myself staying up late looking through photos from our course in Hawaii and listening to the mix my yoga friend Ambere made for me for my birthday that has all the songs we loved from training. She just gave it to me recently and I take it everywhere I go. I listen to it in the house and then throw in my purse so I can listen to it in the car. Then I bring it into the studio and play it before and after class even though it’s mostly reggae, a far cry from the new age stuff we usually play that involves monks chanting or waves crashing or birds singing. Then one night I brought it up to John’s after a night of partying and danced on the coffee table until he told me to stop before I woke up the neighbors.

Ambere also gave me a disc of photos that I finally downloaded onto my new computer. I’m blown away by how young, healthy and vibrant we all look. The photo was taken on this beautiful beach on the east side of Oahu near Kailua and we’re all in our bikinis, all tan and ripped from doing more yoga in two months than most people do in two years.

“When you do something that hard, you miss it when it’s over,” I told my class the other day. That’s my favorite thing about my job. I get to talk for 90 minutes and everyone has to listen to me. “Because there’s nothing better than getting through it, testing your own strength and your own limits and knowing you’ve come out the other side stronger and more aware of who you are.” Well, maybe I wasn’t quite that eloquent when I said it the first time, but you get the idea.

So Amanda is doing these Synergy workshops that involve partner stretching and Thai massage. You learn these techniques that involve flying and helping each other to stretch. It also involves a lot of human contact ” lying on each other, rubbing each other, touching each other ” that might catch you off guard if you happened to stumble into the room without knowing what was going on.

Last weekend she lead one in Basalt that was concluded with the entire group lying in circle on our backs with our heads touching, singing “om” three times.

“Oh come ON,” the voice said.

“You know when you’re in a group like this at random it means we were probably together in another life,” a real voice said. It turns out it belonged to a woman who is a local hypnotist.

The weird thing is, I totally believed her.

When I walked outside, John was sitting on a bench waiting for me.

“Did you hear us do the ‘om’ thing?” I asked him, honestly feeling a little embarrassed. I quickly shook the feeling and dragged him inside so Amanda could fly him.

She easily hoisted his 200-pound frame over her head with her feet, hanging him upside down and manipulating his shoulders into various stretches and rubbing his back. Nothing could have made me happier, knowing they’re finally seeing the things I love about each of them.

That’s when I decided maybe it’s okay to be yogastalgic. I realized finally, my mind is as open as my body and the journey was more than worth it. The best thing about it is it’s only just begun.


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