My initial attraction to yoga derived from a desire to become stronger. When I attended my first yoga class the physical strength of the instructor and the other practitioners in the class was awe inspiring. I wanted the strength that they seemed to hold so effortlessly.
Things didn’t change for me overnight—It was more like a fire began to build and burn slowly. Everyday I rolled out my mat served as a new opportunity to learn about myself. Soon I was practicing more days in a week than not.
So much of life is timing—my journey to yoga is no different. I discovered yoga at the time in my life when I needed it. I had just graduated from college and was holding down a corporate job in advertising—on paper my life was a success, but I didn’t feel especially confident or successful. I had somehow lost the map to the parts of myself that could experience genuine feelings of excitement, peace, joy, gratitude. In so many areas of my life I felt numb and disconnected. My yoga practice became the exception. It was on my yoga mat that I reestablished a connection in my body to joy and lightness. Physically I became stronger and noticed I had more energy in my day. I would rearrange my schedule to make it to class with my favorite teachers. Yoga was my playtime—it still is! Yoga is fun!
Transformation is exciting but also quite poignant and painful at times. As I began to really dedicate myself to a consistent practice my life did not become a glowing ray of eternal sunshine and rainbows. Nope—in fact becoming more self aware meant I began to see who I really was and how I was choosing to show up or not show up in my own life. I began to take ownership of my daily choices. Yoga provided me with a safe space to feel ALL of the feelings. Highs and lows. To process the complexity of loss, sadness, rejection, grief, inadequacy. To celebrate in the liberating power of movement, relief, laughter, forgiveness, contentment. For creation to occur there is an element of destruction, shedding of old layers, old judgements, old habits. We have to release before we can receive.
Practicing yoga and mediation does not flip some magical switch and turn life into an easy, pain-free joyride. What this practice offers is an opportunity to collect data and understand the important relationship we have with ourselves and the world around us. Yoga teaches us to operate from a place of curiosity rather than judgement.
My own practice is an important resource that allows me to handle the stresses of life in a softer way. Yoga and meditation connect me to the present moment and help me navigate waves of change with more grace and flexibility. My commitment to a consistent yoga and meditation practice keeps me grounded. This practice provides me the context to be more aware of my daily choices and live with compassion for myself and others. Teachers are just people who have already made the mistakes you are about to make. I hope that my experience and perspective might serve you on your own journey. Practice and all is coming.