A Deeper Practice, by Stephanie Shockley, MA

In January, as many of us do, I began a new exercise regime. I made a plan to meet my middle daughter at a 7:30am yoga class. Unaware of the time it would take to travel across the city on the first day of school after the holiday break, I was surprised I arrived to find the class door still open and time to spare. 

I found a spot in the room to place both our mats and settled into my space waiting for my partner to arrive and the class to begin. The positions we take in our poses have us turn and face all four walls in the room. As we rotated in our practice, I noticed through the front window, people passing along the sidewalk busy with families of all shapes and sizes on the way to the neighboring elementary school. My heart was warmed by the sight of mothers and fathers walking and strolling their children to school. Some had younger children strapped to their chest, some included a dog on a leash, and some peddled on bikes, rode on scooters, and pulled wagons. As I watch them passed, I felt a deep sense of nostalgia for the days when my four children were young. And if I am being honest, a longing to visit my youth. This Norman Rockwell scene I witnessed triggered a happy and joyous time in my life raising my beautiful and spirited children. While I was in the middle of actively parenting, I doubt I appreciated the innocence and authenticity of my children and the picture outside the yoga studio tapped my memory and reminded me of the great memories I shared with my offspring. I began to feel the tears well up in my eyes and I let the salty release flow down my cheeks. Lying on my mat next to my daughter I was full of gratitude for my precious life and reminded me how short and extraordinary it can be. 

What I thought was a yoga class bringing me closer to my 2019 intention for improved mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health became a deeper practice. I’m reminded that showing up in my life brings unexpected blessings to my world and creates room for me to receive the Divine. 

Stephanie Shockley, MA, Integrative Therapist