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When I walked into Heart, Body & Soul for the Noon Meditation and Stretch, I was what I’d like to call, for picture-painting purposes, a “hot mess.” I was on day three of a progressive cold/allergy/mystery illness that was coinciding with countless nights of waking up to nurse a crying, teething baby. A yoga teacher of 12 years, I also tend to be a tough crowd when I attend other teachers’ classes. Despite my already Negative Nancy (or perhaps Skeptical Sally) approach, I had overcome the most difficult part of any yoga class: I’d arrived.
The Noon Meditation and Stretch, or what instructor Sarah Drewing refers to as “a 30-minute Heart, Body & Soul connection,” is an alternative to the typical lunch hour break. Rather than bland leftovers in a Tupperware container — or an hour-long yoga class, which will leave you rushing to and from the office — Sarah serves up this half-hour midday break: a “yoga–meditation–yoga sandwich” that was delightfully palatable.
The fact that I walked through displays of various gems, minerals, and crystals to get to the yoga space started to get the positive vibes flowing upon arrival. As I was welcomed into a serene space of soft light set at the perfect temperature, I was already being ushered into a deep relaxation.
All of those present were encouraged to bring a yoga mat and water bottle and make ourselves comfortable with provided meditation cushions and blankets. The practice consisted of five minutes of simple stretch, followed by twenty minutes of musically-guided meditation, and concluded with five more minutes of gentle stretch. We opened the practice with some deep breaths and familiar poses — cat–cow, forward folds, and gentle backbends — to work out the kinks and comfortably find stillness for meditation. All positions, from the yoga poses to the meditation “seat” (I chose to lie down), could be modified for any level of participant. During the meditation, Sarah performed a subtle reiki healing on the attendees.
For the meditation portion, Sarah pulled a random card from an inspirational deck for a simple mantra — something to focus on during meditation. Today it happened to be “Sickness is not about aging; it’s about resistance.” Ironically, as I melted to the sounds of Enya, windchimes, rattles, and didgeridoos, I forgot all about my sore throat, runny nose, and general exhaustion. As I dove into stillness, the only nagging thought that came up a time or two in the first few minutes was “I could have just meditated at home.” And upon reflection, my practical self knew that it wouldn’t have been the same. It can be truly difficult to create just the right supported setting without worrying that the family dog will come lick you on the face, a co-worker will ignore the “do not disturb” sign on your office door, or a garbage truck will come beeping by and break your focus.
Free of the nonstop external distractions of work-from-home-mom life, I was truly at home within myself. Some words I scribbled down after the practice were “gentle” and “unwind.” I found that the benefits of the practice followed me home and stayed through the rest of my day. My heart and head were a bit more open, and my body was better rested.
An additional perk is that after the class, I could stay to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and peruse the store’s array of unique items. Or I could simply scoot back into the “real world.” Regardless of my approach, the price and setting of this practice made it an attractive option for escaping the buzz of daily life.
Editor’s Note: The Noon Meditation and Stretch: Heart, Body, & Soul Connection is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:15 to 12:45 pm at Heart, Body, & Soul, located at 1004 W. Worley St.