Blah, blah, something, something, stillness.

stillness | kourtney thomas fitness

They had been talking about getting back into a regular yoga habit for a couple of months. Between the transition and the holidays, it was just one of those things that didn’t end up at the top of the priority list. But with the New Year, and finally settling into a routine again, it was time to revisit.

“Do you want to try a restorative yoga class this weekend?” she asked. “We could go back to the one we went to before, or we could try out something new. There are tons of them all over town.”

“Sure, that sounds good to me, baby,” he replied.

James was pretty much always game for something, at least once. But he saw the value in some relaxation time and gentle stretching. Both he and Alison knew they needed it.

“Okay, sweetie. I know there are a few places closer that have gentle classes on the weekends. I’ll check it out.”

After browsing a few websites and schedules, they decided on a Sunday afternoon class.

“We can try it out, and if we hate it, we totally don’t have to go back. That new client special is a good deal, and it won’t go to waste,” Alison decided.

“I agree. But I’m sure it will be good,” James concurred.

The couple went about their usual weekend, chilling out, reading, grocery shopping for the week. And of course, cooking, and working out. They both enjoyed the gym, and as most athletes do, they both enjoyed little nagging bodily things from time to time. After enough of it, though, they tended to get to a point that they knew it would be wise to start taking better care of themselves. Hence, the idea of adding restorative yoga to their routine.

When Sunday afternoon finally rolled around, they changed out of their PJs into some relatively comfy and warm yoga clothes, bundled up, and headed out the door. They hadn’t been to this yoga studio yet, so they wanted to make sure to get there with plenty of time before class started. Turns out, that was a good decision.

“Well,” Alison remarked with relief, seeing a few other people parking and walking toward the door, “at least there will be more than just us. It’s always a little awkward to have a quiet yoga class with only a few people.”

“That’s true, but look – it looks like it’s going to be a lot more than just a few people,” James observed.

Sure enough, the lobby was packed. Yogis of all shapes, sizes, and ages filled the space, shucking off boots and scarves and coats. They said hi to each other warmly, greeted the teacher, and unpacked their mats on the floor. Each person quietly headed to the storage space to gather their materials for class.

“A blanket, a bolster, two blocks. And you might enjoy a sandbag or eye pillow as well,” said the teacher as everyone prepared and got settled.

Alison felt just a little anxious as she arranged her mat and her things. It had been years since she had been to any kind of a yoga class. As with anything else, she tended to feel like she should excel and feel comfortable in all things, even at the same time knowing there’s no wrong way to show up in a yoga class – especially one focused on not doing much.

As the room began to quiet and class started, Alison focused on the teacher’s soothing voice, and her soft words about slowing down and being restful. All the while, her mind still racing. As soon as the words to be here and now left the teacher’s mouth, Alison was thinking about what would come next. How much more stillness would there be? When and what would they stretch? Was that song going to play again?

Alison focused on her breath. Filling her belly, then releasing further into the ground, consciously thinking about sinking, kept her in the moment. In her body. For Pete’s sake, at least in this room. And as soon as her breathing settled, the very next second, she was thinking again. Who was talking about yoga on Instagram? How was she going to write or post about this class later on?

Deep breath. Just take a deep breath, she told herself. Why was this so hard?

Finally, after nearly a full hour, Alison was able to find some of that restfulness the teacher talked about in the first few minutes of class. She almost fell asleep on her bolster in a nice lying twist, discovering some quiet – of mind and body. When she wiggled her fingers and toes to move into the final savasana, she smiled. It may have taken nearly the entire class, and she had to fight herself along the way, but it was progress.

As they quietly gathered their things and headed out to the truck, James asked, “So, what did you think?”

“I liked it,” Alison replied tentatively, not wanting to get too excited just yet. “What did you think?”

“I really enjoyed it. It’s good to have a time to force myself to slow down and turn off my brain for a while. To just find some stillness. I get so stressed, and I won’t do it otherwise.”

Alison was happy to hear that. She had been struggling to find ways to help her partner de-stress, and this one took her by surprise.

“Really? Yay! I’m so glad to hear you liked it, and I totally agree. I wasn’t sure if you would like it since the instructor was all blah, blah, something, something, stillness.”

“Haha, ‘blah, blah, something, something, stillness?’ I think she was better than that. I liked her, and I would go back.”

“Oh! I would too!” Alison clarified. “I loved it. I just struggled to shut my thoughts off. And she didn’t do that much stretching or anything, so I didn’t know how you would feel about that.”

“I liked it,” he said. “I like stretching and all, but sometimes I have to work harder to do that and it’s more uncomfortable, and I can’t actually relax. With this, I could really get relaxed, get still.”

“Mmmhmmm. I agree.”

“I would go back. It’s okay if you don’t want to, but I’d like to go next Sunday too.”

“Oh no, I totally want to go back! I’ll sign us up online for the rest of the month.”

Alison smiled and quietly reflected on the way home. She loved James so much because he continually surprised her. Constantly buzzing and fidgeting and pushing himself to the limit, she never expected him to embrace and relish the stillness as much as he did. She certainly never thought he would take to it even more than she did. And every time this happened, she knew it made her better too. They were a perfect match, if an odd couple, full of surprises and learning and growing alongside each other. Just the way she wanted it.

As they pulled into the driveway and hopped out of the truck, she laughed a little to herself.

“What are you laughing about?” James asked suspiciously.

“Nothing. Just ‘blah, blah, something, something, stillness.’ I didn’t mean it in a bad way. It’s good for me. And I’m looking forward to next week.”

“Me too, sweetie. Me too.”

Do you struggle to find stillness? I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Or you can reach me directly here. And I talk a lot about stuff like this to my email friends too.

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