This post is from my old blog. I felt like I wanted to update it a little and re-post it because for me, yoga is something I should be doing everyday. I can’t currently commit to daily practice ( I can barely commit to grading my students work everyday) but I want to. In one of my many perfect worlds I would write about my yogi journey all the time.
I am not a granola yogi. I eat meat, I shower often, and I am not totally green. What I do love about yoga is that it helps me to find time to quiet my mind. Shut out the world and challenge myself in the moment. Each practice is different. Today I may touch my toes, tomorrow I may not even bend at my knees. The body is amazing like that.
I like talking about yoga because I think people just hear it and assume the following: you’re trendy, you believe in weird things, and its not a real form of exercise. I think with the right practice, yoga can be liberating, joyful, and motivational.
With that said, here is a little about my love of yoga:
When I was a senior in high school I convinced my older brother to pay for a gym membership for me. The fall of my senior year had been traumatic, I lost most of my friends and went through the normal high school drama so I thought a gym membership would help my self-esteem.
I started going to the gym, lifted weights, ran on the treadmill, and then one day I got up the nerve to go to kickboxing. I loved it. I could beat the crap out of a boxing bag and run out all my pent up aggression. Then one night when I was leaving kickboxing, I noticed that there were yoga students coming in. Yoga had always interested me. When I was in the eighth grade I had tried to convince my mom to let me become a Buddhist, being the good Catholic woman that she is, she never allowed it to happen. Here was this chance for me to start the meditation I had always been interested in with yoga, I may not be able to be a Buddhist but I sure could be a yogi!
The first class seemed intimidating. I didn’t know what I was doing, but the instructor was so warm and welcoming I forced myself to stay through the entire class (mind you I will walk out of any class I don’t feel comfortable in). After that first class I felt so good. I was able to push myself past my limits. I stretched and breathed and was forced to concentrate on each movement. In yoga they kept telling me to empty my mind, and I could never fully stop my thinking but when I was focusing on each pose and each breath I felt taken out of my problems. I also felt like it was a competition with my self. What can I do today that I couldn’t do last week? Can I stretch a little deeper, can I close my mind off a little more? What could I do for myself in THIS moment?
I was addicted.
I went every week without fail. It was my drug and it got me through the rest of the year. When I started college I wasn’t able to go to that particular gym anymore, it was a small gym so there were none by my school I could go to. I enrolled in a national gym so I had more options and I attempted to go to yoga there, but it wasn’t the same. None of the instructors resonated with me, some of them asked us to hold our chi ball or find our power strength. SO NOT ME. I gave up yoga then. I loved it but I couldn’t continue to go to classes that didn’t send me off into the world feeling at peace.
Several years passed and I always thought about yoga. I tried a class or two, never found a fit. I even took a class at school, while it was fun it still wasn’t the same. Then I got lucky, two years ago my department at work got a new manager and she was a yoga instructor. She always said I was more than welcome to come and try a class. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to go, but I did. That first class was so different. I didn’t know if I was frightened or in love. The people in the class talked to the instructor, in fact they heckled her. The music wasn’t all chimes and chanting, it was rock music and things that made me want to move. It was an experience I will never forget.
I never forgot it because it lit me up again. The next day I woke up and I knew I needed to go back. I had connected again with my body and my breathing. I was turning off my mind with each pose and breath. I tried hard over the next year and a half to go every week. I brought friends with me and we committed to going each week. Yoga helped us each grow. It helped us center and it helped us focus on us in that time and space. It brought each of us a strength in a time where everything was falling apart.
Yoga has become so much to me. It is more than exercise. Yoga is a way of living, and although I don’t go nearly as often as I should, every time that I do go I feel lighter. In the last year I have tried to change my life; following death and change I realize a little more that change and improvement only happens when you are ready. I have been trying. Each day I wake up and I try to make sure that I am the best me I can, sometimes this includes seeking forgiveness from people you have wronged. It is hard, but you do it because in the end it is not about if they forgive you, it is about allowing you to forgive yourself. While this may seem like a rant it isn’t, because without yoga, and without my instructor, a lot of this wouldn’t be possible. Those moments of peace in my mind help me to see a little more clearly what it is that is right and just, versus what it is I want to be right.
Needless to say I love yoga.
In one of my many perfect worlds of my imagination I would get paid to go to yoga everyday and write about. My other perfect worlds include me getting paid to blog, read, or eat. Any of the above I will take.
Until I do, I stay here, doing yoga, reading and reviewing children’s books, and rolling along my path.
**M for Pocket Owl Press**