For me the word “yoga” used to conjure an image of a new age-y gypsy lady who wore five bazillion scarves all over her body and spoke slowly and melodically about “feeling your aura vibrating into the world.” I pictured the kind of deeply spiritual, off-her-rocker person that you would see inhaling essential oils in whole foods and saying “Ahhhhh” out loud, to the air particles around her. When yoga became popularized as a form of exercise and power yoga classes and the like starting popping up in gyms, I was given another stereotype to assign to the term “yoga,” one quite the opposite of my first–a type-A, multi-tasking, stick-thin soccer mom who is determined to lose that last five pounds and tone her thighs up.
Clearly I hadn’t done my research.
Later, when friends and acquaintances began taking yoga classes, the word became less foreign and unfamiliar, but I still didn’t quite get why it was a big deal to anyone. Yeah, it’s stretching, I thought. Cool. Whatever. We all like a nice stretch.
I believe it was around the time that a friend was posting thoughts on Myspace (yeah, Myspace, remember that?) and sometimes mentioned yoga and her profound love for it. I began to wonder if yoga might be able to help me in some way. Having had depression and various other health issues, I wanted something to help me connect to myself, something to help heal me and help me heal myself, something to help me “find myself.”
At which point, I began going to classes and dedicating myself fiercely to the practice, quickly becoming a Yogic Master and conquering all my demons and strengthening my spirit, right?!
Nope. In true procrastinator fashion, I thought, “Yes, I should try yoga,” and then…didn’t. Until a year or two later. At which point I dedicated myself and became a Yogic Master and all that? Ha, no! I tried a class here and there and quite enjoyed them–there was indeed something about yoga that I connected to. Why, then, didn’t I start going regularly? One reason was that I was dedicated to my college studies and excelling in my classes. Other, less disgustingly haughty reasons, might have had a little something to do with anxiety, laziness, lostness (the classic who-am-I dilemma), and the always-fun depression.
And yet I didn’t completely stop–something kept drawing me back to it. It seems I’d do a little bit, stop for a while, do it a little bit more, stop for a while again, do a little bit more than the little bit more I did the last time, etc. I completed a series of Ashtanga basics classes, after which the instructor told me I was ready to progress to the regular classes. I was excited–and nervous. And it was the nervousness that sent me into “Frozen Do-Nothing Mode”: no more yoga. Until a couple years later, when I emerged from my lulling period again–only to go back into it a few months later. But this time, it was shorter.
And, finally, last summer, I began some private sessions with Jen, an instructor with whom I’d done “The Great 108” (that’s 108 Sun Salutation A’s–you’d think after doing that I’d feel like I could do anything and would immediately transform into Superwoman) about a year before. She had seemed fun and positive, and she gave us all glitter as a reward for completing the 108. And glitter is just fun. When I saw that she was teaching privates at a place where I’d gotten Reiki massages, I thought it seemed like a sign, or at least something I could pretend was a sign–enough to get me to go in any case. And go I did.
Serendipitously, Jen turned out to be exactly what I was seeking in a yoga instructor, and more. She helped me get on a path that is leading me to better health, a more positive outlook, and a heightened sense of self. I’d be lying if I said I’m now practicing daily, and I’ve even had lulls lasting multiple weeks, but I keep coming back, knowing the feeling that yoga gives me that nothing else can.
Not exactly the most magical and miraculous of stories, but that is how I came to yoga.
I’m not sure what the bleep this blog is, quite honestly. My fantasy is that it will be a place where I can share experiences with yoga, with life, with the world. I’ve found that yoga can be a part of any facet of life, no matter how seemingly unrelated it is. I have no idea if this blog will even be remotely interesting to other people (which of course is my hope–even if it’s only family members) or if it’ll just turn into another narcissistic personal webpage, but hey, either way, I’m trying something new, and hopefully it’ll encourage me to both continue my practice of yoga and my practice of writing. As Ashtanga Yoga founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said, “Do your practice, and all is coming.”