I thought I was going to pass out, throw up, or die my first class at Willow Glen Yoga. It was 1998 and I’d had a baby the year before and could no longer run because pushing out a watermelon had realigned my pelvis.
I saw Willow Glen Yoga when I was getting my hair cut across the street, and I went and picked up a schedule. For my first visit, I chose a morning Bikram class taught by Kirk. As I signed in for the class, I met Kirk and Kent and they were sweet and funny. They showed me where to put my mat, told me to take breaks when I needed to. I nodded. I wasn’t the type of person who needed breaks. I’d be fine.
Thirty minutes later I was in child’s pose for the third time, making deals with the universe. If I didn’t throw up, I’d be nicer to my husband. If I didn’t pass out, I’d call my mom. I promised myself I would never come back.
The next day I only went into child’s pose twice.
The day after that I thought I was going to die again.
The day after that, I only got a little dizzy in eagle pose.
My body hummed in a way it hadn’t since I was a child. Yoga was some sort of miracle tonic: I was eating better. I was more patient. I could touch my toes!
Two weeks later after coming to class five days a week, I went up to Kent and nervously asked if he thought I was ready to take a vinyasa class. He nodded. “You’re in the club, Kid,” he said.
I tried to control my smile so my face wouldn’t split in half. I was in the club!
For the next thirteen years, I went to Willow Glen Yoga at least three times a week, often more. I memorized the marks on the walls, the small holes in the ceiling before Kent ripped it out and made the room bigger. It was my church, my playground, my home plate. I made many of my most significant friendships at that studio.
I haven’t even mentioned the yoga. Nothing matches Willow Glen Yoga for the quality of the classes it offers, and I know this because I moved away.
I lived in Palo Alto for three years—I still live there, and I stopped going to a yoga studio regularly because the classes I attended in Palo Alto were more of the gym, sweat-it-out mentality, with none of the attention to alignment or emotional well-being so key to a solid yoga practice. I walked instead. And this is what happened: I got really sick. I went to the doctor and she told me, among other things, to eat more meat and to do some sort of vigorous exercise to counteract the stress in my life. “You mean like yoga?” I asked. She nodded. “Yoga’s the best.”
And guess what: my husband’s office changed location, and we are leaving Palo Alto as of this Friday, and we’re moving to…Willow Glen. I will live .7 miles from Willow Glen Yoga. My doctor thinks this is great news. My husband is excited to try out his new mat. I stay awake at night thinking of triangle, upward facing dog. What I think is: soon I will be practicing yoga regularly again; soon I am going to feel like myself. I am so grateful for Kent Bond and for all that he has brought to my life.
This is what I know: Monday morning after we move I can do Yoga Flow with Tom. Or that night I could do Vinyassa at 6:00 with Kent. I could even stay on and do Yoga TuneUp at 7:30 with Nathania and sing all the way home. For heaven’s sake! Wednesday I could stop by at 2:00 and do an hour of Chair Yoga with Kyczy! Are you kidding me? Yoga in a chair? That is awesome.
I asked Kent if I could do a blog celebrating Willow Glen Yoga. I told him I wanted to give word space for the classes and the teachers and the students, and he said yes. So here I am, chronicling this coming year at Willow Glen Yoga. I look forward to practicing with you. I look forward to feeling better.