Yoga and I

Yoga. If you had asked me five or so years ago about the subject I probably would have stuck my nose up at it. I didn’t know what the hype was, why people would want to flip their dogs or what Namaste meant. Now? It’s a whole different story. Yoga has changed my life physically, emotionally and spiritually.

One Big Ass Yoga Mat. Downtown Charleston. Such an amazing experience.

My first yoga practice took place while I was in college at a local studio here in downtown Charleston. Yes, I was one of those people way in the back knocking other people off of their feet as I constantly fell out of my poses. Right from the start it was a huge challenge for me. Ever since growing more than a foot in height, my balance has suffered. Rather than focus on what I was able to do well during my practice I, instead, became frustrated with my lack of strength and balance. So needless to say, yoga and I didn’t get along too well in the beginning and we took a rather lengthy break from one another.

After returning back to Charleston for another semester at the College of Charleston and at the urging of a friend, we both renewed our membership for yoga. Why not? That’s when everything changed. At that time in my life I was going through a rough patch and I had read that yoga can be stress relieving. On one particular night we decided to go to a class together. Before the practice began, the instructor, Beth, who remains one of my favorite yogis of all time, said some things that hit my heart.

(It was something along these lines)
“Thank you for showing up and thank you for your willingness to do the work. Whatever it is that you have been holding onto, LET IT GO. Honor your body and honor your soul.”

Whoa. What? Did she just read my mind? That was exactly what went through my mind as I lay in child’s pose about to get my butt kicked. That night, so much changed for me. My yoga practice was for me. I wasn’t trying to fit in or jumping on the bandwagon so to speak. I was there because I wanted to be there. After our practice and savasana I rolled onto my right side and tears just started rolling down my cheeks. That release was exactly what I needed. Yoga and I made a connection and it was the beginning of a life long relationship.

I’m among the sea of yogis πŸ™‚

Now, five years or so later, my bond with yoga continues to strengthen. Through my practice my balance has improved, I have gotten stronger and more confident. Yoga is no longer just about the physical demands of a workout for me. Since my last surgery I have learned to use yoga as a means of pain management; focusing on my breathing and that everything is perfect the way it is.Yoga and I? Clearly we are best friends. For life πŸ™‚

Over the years I have encountered many people who have taught me SO much when it comes to my practice. Beth, who was the instructor that changed it all for me, continues to practice here in Charleston and inspires me still every time I attend one of her classes. This past weekend I was lucky enough to do a yoga workshop with the amazing Kathryn Budig and my good friend Elli Boland. For two days I was surrounded by people who share the same relationship with yoga as I do. Talk about empowering.

The biggest motivator for me was Kathryn herself. Standing before me was a woman who stood only two inches taller than me but that was just one grain of sand on her beach. Even though our stories are different she has gone and followed her dream despite the thoughts and judgements of others. The fact that we both share love for the sky (Kathryn has jumped over 50 times) was a major plus and I hope to be able to jump with her sometime in the near future.

Yoga is about the release, letting it go; finding absurd amounts of confidence in moments of weakness. Breathing and balance. Looking inward at who I really am and knowing that all I have been through was just as it was meant to be; still is. Finding my physical and emotional strength. Last but not least – L.O.V.E.

Namaste and Love.

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