I found myself today.
You didn’t know I was lost, did you? Neither did I.
Until I found myself again.
Did you know I am a registered yoga teacher? And I used to be pretty good at it. I loved yoga with everything in me. Being a person of, ahem, exuberant emotionality and enthusiasm, it was The Thing that helped me pause, breathe, and overcome whatever emotion was reeling at the time. It gave me control over- and confidence in- my body. My breath. My mind. Through yoga and meditation I learned to control my own thoughts, rather than be controlled by them. If I was speaking, I rarely lost my train of thought. If I was praying, I never slipped into my grocery list or thoughts from earlier that day. If I was trying to get to sleep at night, I hardly ever felt anything other than rested and at peace. It was easy to get to sleep each night, because I wasn’t fighting a restless mind.
It also gave me control over my body. My muscles were fluid and flexible. My limbs did what I asked them to do, when I asked them to do it, without argument, hesitation, or pain. My knees stopped creaking. My hamstrings got longer. My posture improved, and I grew a wee bit taller. My back pain went away. So did several inches around my waist.
My heart grew stronger. The more I learned myself, the more I was able to impart to the men and women who came to the classes I taught. Their hearts and bodies grew stronger, too. We together learned that we are the masters of our own bodies, and that we can breathe through anything- hard poses, tight stretches, painful experiences. It was all a path to bigger things.
Yep. Yoga was an incredible and important part of my life.
And somehow, after traveling around the world a couple years ago, and coming home to a busy job with long hours, I lost sight of it. Somewhere along the way, my practice became virtually nonexistent.
My body grew rigid.
My emotions grew more volatile.
My breath grew shorter and my thoughts grew louder.
And yet I stayed away.
Months and months went by, and my mat gathered dust. So did my muscles.
Until this morning.
I awoke with the sun streaming in and my body aching for movement. I walked to my living room, and unrolled my dusty mat.
I stepped onto the soft rubber and breathed deeply for what felt like the first time. I sat and meditated for a few minutes to calm my mind and it unsurprisingly took awhile to focus. My breath was unbelievably shallow. As I started moving I could actually hear my joints waking up. Every muscle in my body was cold and tight. My knees crackled and my spine popped. My wrists were unbelievably tight. I couldn’t lift my tailbone in downward dog because my hamstrings were so rigid.
I felt trapped in my own body. I felt 80 years old.
And yet I kept moving and I kept breathing.
My body slowly warmed as I went through my sun salutations. My breath rounded out. My muscles began to relax.
The smell and feel of that mat nearly brought me to tears. It felt so familiar. It felt like home. It felt like I was coming back to myself after a long, long vacation.
I will get up tomorrow and do it again. Maybe I’ll add some twists to my basic variations. Maybe the next day I’ll add some hip openers. Who knows? The sky is the limit, and I feel firmly grounded again.
I’m grateful for my yoga practice. I’m grateful it came to me in a time in my life when I needed guidance. I’m grateful for the ownership of my body it handed to me one day at a time. I want these things again.
And I’m going to take them, one breath at a time.
a look back at my yoga journey…