I went to my first yoga class. I also went to my first AA meeting. And they were the same class! I had never been to either one but I had seen both on TV, so I was nervous. I had some preconceptions about what would happen, yep, only from TV. But the comments from so many sober bloggers about how much they loved their AA groups and yoga classes made me want to be a part of what was working for long term sobriety. (My instructor has a Y12SR extra certification see below for definition.)
So here’s what happened to me.
The yoga studio was in the lower level of a church. It was a Wednesday in the summer and you could feel this small church had great energy. I have spent a lot of time working in churches and when you hear someone refer to a church as being alive, it is a true feeling.
Upstairs there were therapy offices and several staff members chatting. Downstairs in the social hall, were bright children’s paintings drying. The bathroom was super cute and clean. That is always a good sign! I could tell this church/ therapy/ yoga studio was alive and welcoming to those who were poor in spirit.
I waited for class to start, reading the bulletin board and checking out the space, and there was a basket where I could donate my gently used bras. Free The Girls and give a former slave a job. Huh. I could throw my bra at a problem instead of money. Its amazing how the world opens up when you leave your comfort zone.
I was the only one waiting and that was good. I didn’t want a big group. I recognized the instructor as she came in. She had the same energy as I picked up from her profile. There was another girl with her and I hoped that was all the people, and it was. Sigh of relief! Small group and no men. I was greeted with smiles and hugs and was immediately put into service carrying yoga bricks to another room. Service is an important aspect of AA they quipped. Okay, no problem, a little group building activity to cut the ice is good!
The room was beautiful. The front mirrored wall was draped in light scarves that fluttered with the fans. I was grateful they were covered. There was a soft mural painted above of a tree and birds. It was very subtle and felt very serene and calm. There was a light scent to the room and at different times quiet notes of sound. Not really music.
We got our mats and I learned about “double matting”. Two mats are softer than one! Then we got out the bolsters. In my TV version of yoga I had never seen one of these. People always sat pretzel legged on the floor to begin to warm up. I knew in my case, that it took 15 minutes of warm up to even sit on the floor, and another 15 minutes of stretches to fold in my legs. These were not the TV version of ” just roll up a towel and sit on it”. These bolster things were big & heavy, They were high and wide and plop, I was sitting on the floor comfortably! (My new purple yoga bolster arrives today!)
I looked around the room for the steel foldng chairs so we could begin the AA portion. Nope. We started with some very kind stretches (folded pretzel legs optional) to open our hearts, minds and tissues. And then we just sat on our bolsters and yoga mats for the AA meeting. That was cool. And a relief. We read some rules, which I quickly broke by interrupting, “cross talk” it is called. I did have to say the line, just like on TV, I’m Lori and I’m an alcoholic. It felt a little awkward saying it out loud as I have just recently been able to write those words. On the instruction page that I was responsible for reading it looked like this. I’m ______ and I’m an _______ and a ______ and a_______. I remembered it was a 12 step program and that , she explained, pertained to the Big 6 of addictions, alcohol Is one of them.
We had a topic – courage – and we all shared in equal amounts of time. (Reminder to self: This is not a discussion – no cross talk 🙂 ) I have done group therapy before and it was similar. I could feel my face and body language itching to engage in the dialogue. I did have a hard time listening to another’s share without becoming actively involved. I had just finished having coffee with another sober blogger where we did dynamically, meaningfully discuss all kinds of stuff. I was definately carrying that dynamic with me into this close group. I felt terrible that I interrupted but I was there to learn. Robert’s Rules of Order were not used (haha) but there are 12 Step discussion rules for a reason. P.S. I bet I worried about this much more than the others did!!
Recovery Yoga- Part II Yoga, tomorrow. Lori
What is Y12SR?
Y12SR is a rich and powerful framework for integrating the wisdom of yoga and the practical tools of 12-step programs. Guided by it’s theme ‘The Issues Live In the Tissues”, Y12SR meetings are now available all over country and the curriculum is quickly becoming a feature of addiction recovery treatment centers across the United States.