My daughter quipped back at me after our class this past week at Yoga Flow, “Dad, you always say that your class was a breakthrough.” Well, it so happens that I’ve noticed qualitative changes in key poses.

  • I sat cross-legged in Easy or Sukhasana pose without a folded blanket under my hips and still did not feel as if I was going to fall over backwards. Maybe one day I will make it into Half Lotus.
  • I could get into Reclining Hero’s pose (Supta Virasana) with a block to support my sitting bones and protect my knees and a bolster to support my back. This was the first time that I had ever seriously attempted the pose.
  • My heels now touch the ground regularly in Downward-facing Dog.
  • Pigeon pose has become one of my favorites. A month ago, I felt threatened in the pose. A year ago, I despised it. This past week, I found myself jumping into the pose with relish — but the teacher had not asked for it.
  • The other change is that my weight has dropped below 190 for the first time in the first time this century. It makes a difference when I’m not carrying around an extra 10 pounds.

But even more importantly than the progress on asanas was how the practice made me feel. I had left work that afternoon, dragging, brooding. Job stress was making me feel frustrated, powerless and bitter. But my vinyasa seemed to pull me out of the mire and thrust me forward with an emotional lift that carried me through the next couple of days. The clarity that was distilled from my practice helped me make key decisions about my career.