26 January 2015

Alabama {50 States of Yoga}

Alabama the beautiful...

Courtney and I rolled across the Alabama state line early afternoon on Monday.  We stopped to take a photo at the border crossing and comment on the homage to Jefferson Davis and the property of a ramshackled, abandoned bar it was on.  It was sort of a strange introduction to my first time in Alabama... and having had just heard Sweet Home Alabama miles earlier, I had a vision of something different in mind.  As we drove on into Alabama we stumbled upon a car - covered in beer cans - at a recycling center.  How could I not stop and take a picture of such a thing!

...and not so beautiful.

We continued up route 90 towards the outskirts of Mobile and checked into a Day's Inn.  Never check into a Day's Inn on the outskirts of Mobile.  I won't go into too many details, but it involved cockroaches, blood on the bathroom wall, and mold.  But... being a couple of vagabonds we're a hardened lot and just pretended like we couldn't see any of these things!  We were exhausted from the day's yoga and driving and were very close to just crashing in our beds, but first we had a yoga class to take.

Initially when planning this trip I had chosen a yoga class to be held that evening at the Mobile Botanical Gardens.  To me that seemed like quite a lovely place to take a class.  Unfortunately, days before I left on this trip, I called to confirm the class and was advised it would not be held.  Last minute then I discovered Quiet Mind Massage Therapy and Yoga Studio online and I'm so grateful I did.  We took the Gentle Yoga class on Monday evening with Nadine.  The room was packed - I don't think they could have fit another mat in there.  Right from the start it didn't feel like any class I had ever been to.

Most of the yoga classes I have taken thus have been in California.  In CA I find they are very sensitive to the needs of everyone and can sometimes go overboard.  One thing I've notice on this Gulf Coast trip is scents.  In CA they're very adamant about no scents in yoga and meditation classes/studios for those who may suffer from allergies.  So I was quite {and pleasantly} surprised when our teacher, Nadine, at Quiet Mind pulled a bottle of essential oils out to share with the class... a special brew she had concocted for us.  It was such a wonderful addition to have this oil available and breathe in during our class.

Throughout the Gentle Yoga class with Nadine I felt more and more connected.  Connected to myself, to the class, and to my path.  When a chant came on honoring Ganesha, I thought, "Wow, what a coincidence!"  And then Nadine, as she guided us so eloquently through move after move, breath after breath, mentioned New Year's Resolutions, I thought, "Hmmm... ok...  strange.  This is part of my journey... of my new year's resolution."  But then she advised us these sequences she was taking us through were to culminate with a difficult pose... The Wild Thing...  I grinned ear to ear!  I AM LIVING WYLD!  That is my purpose!  That is why I am here... why I was there!  Nadine connected so many beautiful things inside of me that night.  I cannot do The Wild Thing pose, not yet.  But I will keep trying.  I will keep the WYLD in my heart and in my breath and in my soul.  If you're reading this... Thank you Nadine for your class.  Namaste.

After such a long day of yoga classes and driving, Courtney and I crashed hard in our roach motel.  I woke early the next morning, quite well rested, and had a bowl of instant grits from their breakfast buffet.  Friends and family have since advised me that no self-respecting Southerner would eat instant grits.  It's a good thing I'm not a Southerner.  I enjoyed them just fine.  But I pretty much like any carb that is a vessel for butter... so, not a big surprise I liked them.  We hit the road shortly there after, heading down the other side of Mobile Bay towards Florida.  About a dozen or so miles before hitting the state line, I noticed the gas light was flashing, and the "bars" on the electronic gas gauge were gone - as in no gas, and an LED on the dashboard was flashing back and forth between FILL and FUEL.  Huh, I guess we need gas, I thought.  I told Courtney, "Hey, we're running out of gas."  She asked, "How long has it been like that?"  "I don't know," I quipped, "We had half a tank yesterday."  We coasted on fumes across the Alabama/Florida state line on I-10, hoping we would see an exit soon... that had a gas station.

Thanks for reading about my yoga journey through our beautiful country! I'll continue to try to get to 4 or 5 states a month. Until then... please take a look at the other 3 states from this trip!


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