by Anna Loveridge

It’s not uncommon to feel nervous about going to a new studio or a new yoga class, and it can take some weeks or months to feel at ease entering a new space. Arriving in Bristol as a new teacher on the scene I was a little nervous (yes us teachers still get nervous too) but after meeting Char and Jess I left the studio with cheeks sore from smiling so much.

Trika was humble, welcoming, and felt like home.

There’s a fine line between excitement and nerves, both of them have very similar effects upon the body. When you’re excited you get butterflies; for me I can be overly talkative and not know how to expend all my energy so end up bouncing here, there and everywhere. It’s the same with nerves; those familiar butterflies take flight in my belly, my tongue has a mind of it’s own and words tumble out of my mouth. It’s rare that you enter a space that lulls your entire body and mind into a place of perfect grounding and ease, especially when you’re feeling like you stand out being the only one on crutches.

It was an overly ambitious leap at a climbing centre that had grounded me back to square one. I snapped my ACL and was unable to walk, or even worse, practice yoga. Some months later as a student I returned to Trika with that familiar tangle of nerves and excitement in my belly. I was still unable to do most yoga poses but remembering how much of a saving grace the studio was when I first arrived in Bristol, I knew that even if I lay on my back for the entire class I would feel great.

The beauty about Trika is that all the teachers are so humble and down to earth. There is no pressure to be anyone or prove anything. There’s this warm sense of community that embraces you as you ascend up the stairs and see the smiley face behind the reception desk. And descending those stairs after my first class back I felt like I was being magically carried on Aladdin’s Carpet back into reality, even with clunky crutches.

It was humbling to be a beginner yogi again and I needed support to build up my confidence in poses without exacerbating my injury any more. Trika was exactly what the doctor ordered. I was held through the entire journey of the class and supported by my fellow yogis practicing by my side. No comparison, no judgement, no trying to imitate the exact posture the teacher was doing as my body simply was not able to; it was a reminder that yoga is for every single body and I gave myself permission to go slow and be gentle.

When working with injury, pain, or even a healthy body, the secret is to have patience. To take time to listen, and to find a place where you feel safe and confident to explore. Trika gave me that safe haven for self-exploration and I entered a shape that resembled Warrior 2 for the first time in months, my own version on my knees. It wasn’t the “real pose” but I felt the strength and determination of a warrior’s mind.

Injury has reminded me that yoga is for anybody and every single unique body, regardless of age, strength, or flexibility. Post knee operation I now have that wobbly road ahead again but this time I feel supported, because the studio I call home will be there when I’m ready to glide (or clunk) back up those stairs.