I love how Steve and my hobbies intersect and the people we meet in one community show up in another community. Steve was teaching a photography class this spring and one of his students started talking about a yoga class that they took and they really liked it and as the story unfolded, they connected the dots to my yoga class. An art student of mine was telling me about a birding field trip she took and really enjoyed the leader; it was none other than Steve. This yoga student story starts with the Tucson Audubon Society’s annual potluck last December, when we fortuitously sat at a table with Chitra and Jonathon. They had just recently moved to Tucson and we enjoyed getting to know them.
Like so many people I meet, Chitra told me at that potluck that she wanted to start practicing yoga, but hadn’t taken the leap. Her father had a daily yoga practice and Chitra observed his practice, but he didn’t share it with his children. As an adult, she didn’t want to go to a gym or yoga studio to try it. “I felt I couldn’t dare to do it in a gym or studio because I wasn’t up to snuff.” She liked the idea of a small class and small group. It was a low risk way to introduce herself to yoga, so she bought a mat and did her first yoga class in January.
Since that first class, Chitra has became a regular yoga student, rarely missing a week. As she got more comfortable in class with the poses and breath work and realized the benefits, she encouraged her husband Jonathan to join us. Jonathan didn’t have any reservations about coming to a yoga class, though he’d never practiced yoga in the past. Within a few weeks, he bought his own mat and is now also a regular!
Chitra enjoys many aspects of yoga, including the variety of techniques – the yoga poses (called asanas), the breath work (called Pranayama) and Savasana. “Savasana pose gives me permission to not run around and just be. I love the stillness of it.” Her most challenging pose is Sukhasa (Easy Pose), which is a seated pose with your legs crossed. Like many of us, her career has her sitting at a desk much of the day, which creates tight hip muscles. Yoga helps her relax and stretch those muscles.
Jonathan is a regular at his local gym, working on strength and balance. He added yoga to his wellness routine and enjoys the weekly practice. Downward Dog is the most challenging pose for Jonathan and his least favorite! His favorite pose is Warrior II.
One of my most gratifying experiences as a teacher is seeing the transformation in people from when they walk in the door to when they rise to leave. The change in the way they carry their body to the pace of their breath is distinct. Chitra said it well when she told me “I didn’t even know how tense I was until I started doing yoga!” It’s been an honor and joy to get to know Chitra and Jonathan and share yoga with them!