A little less than four and a half years ago I was in a major rut. I was a mom and a wife – but feeling like I was doing each one badly. I felt sad, lonely and more than ready for something new- even though I had no idea what that “something” would be. I had been crushing on yoga for awhile, but the timing never seemed right. Yoga and me were at two different places – I wasn’t quite ready to put myself out there into a studio with super bendy pretzel people who knew all the moves already. I still think of ballet in 4th grade – I could barely remember the moves THEN – all the other kids went left and I went….wait, isn’t this left? No??!!! It’s right? OHHHH!! No wonder I’m bumping into people! Believe me, the teacher was happy to take my mom’s check but I had no natural talent.
And yoga, well, yoga was busy. You know – spreading peace and ohm’s around the world. He just didn’t have time for me. Until…..a studio opened 5 minutes from my house. Brand new. I figured, “I am brand new to this so maybe if I go to a brand new studio then EVERYBODY will be new and I won’t feel like such a doofus because EVERYBODY will be going left when we’re supposed to go right and not be super twisty and..well…I can do this.”
I showed up for the very first class on the very first day the studio opened. That would be at 6:00 am on December 1, 2010. I was the first student. I was the only student! Which was a real boon to me – since Jessica, the teacher and owner – would say things like “downward facing dog” and I had NO idea what she was talking about. Plank? Nope. Chair pose? Ah…no. OK – forward fold. I knew that one! So that first class was one-on-one. And something snapped into place then and there on a cold, early, Albany, New York morning. My yoga crush was going past the crush stage to…getting to know each other.
Not that yoga is always an easy partner. Like the best relationships, yoga transforms you and it doesn’t always feel good. In fact, sometimes it feels terrible. Stretching can take you places that we don’t go in every day life. Sitting with discomfort – not pain because yoga should NEVER cause physical pain – is not something we do. In fact, getting to know your own body and realize there is a difference between discomfort and pain is an eye opener to many people. So often we shun ANY discomfort by distracting ourselves with food, chatter, TV, Facebook, wine…to be able to sit and breathe and expand a little bit every time is simple…and difficult.
And to emotionally expand? To sit with THAT discomfort? I have cried on my mat – it is difficult to be cracked open and see what’s in there. The good, the bad and the ugly. But to know it’s all mine and I can own it, nurture it, change it, love it or move it on out? That is the ultimate feeling of freedom. For some of us, to open ourselves to the grace and peace that yoga offers us is even harder. Every relationship we have should allow us to feel secure in the knowledge that we are loved and accepted for who and what we are. And yoga helps build that relationship with ourselves.
So here I am, 4 years later. I’m stronger, happier and more in tune with myself and everything around me. I am more patient, I am a better partner, mother and friend and I am much kinder to other people. and myself. Yoga has proven to be very amenable. He travels with me – I have taken yoga classes all over the US. He moved to NYC with me – and I have a new home studio. He enjoys our open relationship and has no jealousy whatsoever when I run (which I do on the days we aren’t together). And he likes to keep things fresh – Anusara, Jivamukti, Forrest, Yin….there are many schools of yoga and so little time!
I am still not super twisty. I am not one of those gals making videos of their incredible inversions. I am not a yoga teacher. I am simply a consistent practitioner in love with yoga. Like my other important relationships – I am in this one for good. Dedicating yourself to positive relationships allows you to grow in ways you never thought possible – and nurtures you in ways you might never have though you needed.
I heart you yoga- thanks for everything.