Evolutionary of the Month – Sue Ives – December

My first yoga class was as a grad student. Free student yoga in the art room sounded pretty fantastic after hours upon hours of sitting at a computer! I suefell out of practice for a few years after grad school, until I heard about Evolve opening and popped in for a visit. I was impressed by the welcoming nature of the community, and have been coming regularly ever since.

For me, yoga began as a playful exploration of what I could do—could I actually reach my foot? Could I hold that standing pose? Could I kick up into an inversion? Some days the answer was yes, and other days the answer was no, but either way it was fun to try.

While I still approach classes with this spirit, I’ve developed an appreciation for the way yoga helps me focus on the subtleties of my body and breath. I had a disc injury in my lower back about two years ago. In retrospect I had been ignoring the slow progression to this injury for years, telling myself it was just a tight pyriformis or a sore low back that I just had to work through. A regular yoga practice during my recovery helped me learn to use my breath to get through painful moments, focus on stability and strength in my core, and work to loosen the tight places I had been guarding for so long. Most importantly, it helped me recognize that rather than pushing harder to try and work through a tight or aching part of my body, it’s ok to modify a pose and, if that still doesn’t feel right, I can ask for help.

Embracing the things that I can do, rather than focusing on the things I can’t, helps keep yoga a playful and joyous place for me. And I like to think that laughing while doing core work will only make me stronger!