I feel strongly when I say that I don’t think we as individuals find yoga. Rather, as a collective energy finds us. I feel that it seeks us out when we need it most, and drags us out of whatever hole we’ve gotten ourselves into – or maybe it finds you before that happens! – through it’s many faceted practices.
Yoga appeared in my life because I needed a bridge — A bridge to fix the gap between my mind and body that started when I was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease my junior year of high school. My thoughts about that situation were frustration, anger, and even annoyance that my body would even think of letting that happen. A little tick bite caused me to reject my body and all of its processes and ongoings, and ignore them.
After I recovered from the disease, I started to really feel the gap. I had always done physical activities like dance and sports ever since I was little, so to feel so disconnected from the very thing that made it possible was frustrating. I didn’t really know what to do, so I figured if I just kept going with the same sports and activities, it would finally click. But since I was just focusing on the physical aspect and not the role my mind and awareness had, it wasn’t effective.
This is where yoga stepped in. It appeared in the form of an offering from my dear friend who had just finished her 200 hour teacher training with ShivaShakti; she was teaching free classes in town. For a senior in high school, free anything sounded good. I’d done yoga before, in middle school for gym class. But in one pose the pants of the person in front of me fell down, so I made a vow not to go near it again!!
However, at this point, having a wardrobe malfunction was the least of my worries so I took the leap and went to the class.
I have to be aware of my movements? And breathe too?? Besides the initial shock of how much more involved the practice was than I remembered, some magic definitely took place in that hour.
But I didn’t notice the total effects until I was off the mat and walking to my car. I felt at least 10 pounds lighter, there was a spring in my step again and I actually felt myself walking. I noticed every step, what was going on in my body, and heard the messages that were carried from it to my brain, and back out again.
I knew there was something special about this practice. I drove home with a smile on my face and promised I’d go back the week after. And I did, again and again, adding classes at different studios, eventually starting a home practice, and bought my first mat. I’d look forward to going to yoga after school, and even did an entire presentation on meditation and mindfulness in my psychology class.
And a month before I graduated high school, I started yoga teacher training in Portland, Maine.
I gave my body the attention it needed, and made sure not to ignore signs and messages. Yoga became one of the most important tools in getting myself back to 100% from the year before, and bridging the gap.
And I have not had any wardrobe malfunctions to date!