Anna Crosetti

Anna Crosetti

I was never the sportive type. I could never do what the other children were doing, while they were easily flipping, standing on hands and making bridges. I was there looking with envy and struggling, my body was just not responding. I was raised by parents whose idea of sport was strolling in your best outfit on the Italian Riviera, so the idea of enforced movement made me panicky.

Growing up, I carefully avoided physically demanding activities, I feared injuries, pain and that feeling of discomfort. Plus sweating was not chic! One day – somewhere in my thirties – my already bad back did block me in bed, then I knew I had to do something.

My physiotherapist recommended yoga, and although I was venturing way outside my comfort zone, I also felt there were things that on the surface looked fairly easy, like crossing your legs or sitting on your heels. Maybe I could try it.

A quick research between the local studios pointed me in the direction of an extremely kind lady. After an introduction lesson and a talk with her I felt I could join her classes, she was so welcoming. I still remember the sense of calm and how she did allow us to unfold and evolve in her classes over the time.

One Sunday evening Ankan covered one of her lessons, it was clear from the beginning that there would be some challenges! His classes were way out of my level, there was a lot of sweating going on, was this too much?

By now, in my late forties, I knew who I was, but the insecure child was still present in me, my body was still not bending like the others in the class, the fear of falling and pain was still very much present in my head and blocking me.

I kept attending Ankan lessons. At his studio I learned the practice beyond the posture, but more importantly I learned that the way your body looks is irrelevant to yoga because your body is going to change.

Showing up for the practice is crucial because it allows you to be comfortable with all of those changes. I took my time, tried to be constant and listened to my body; with time I started to see results. First came the split, then I did not need any longer to be helped for my wheel pose. Later I managed the headstand against the wall, and more recently I progressed with the scorpion. Do not be mistaken, results did not come fast or easily, I am talking years, but I was not in a hurry and I did not have to prove anything to anyone.

For me it is important to have something that you can practice that can provide structure in your life, give you comfort, and allow you to extend yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. In Ankan classes I do not feel the peer pressure, I feel we are all working hard, everyone is following a personal journey, everyone is sweating. I accept that my body is in a constant state of change.

It means that you can’t hold on to what your body’s condition is at any given time. At a minimum, your body is going to grow older. Therefore it can also get injured. A bit of pain will be part of this change, it is unavoidable.

Today, at 56, yoga gives me a sense of freedom, I am no longer as encumbered by the idea of what I have been or what I once was, and I can fully accept the woman I have become.