I’ve struggled to write this post for a long time. Partly because it so so intimate, so personal to me and also partly because there was no one moment that I knew yoga was for me. It was a culmination of lots of little details that one day added up, took time to develop and really grab hold of my life; it wasn’t an instant flick of the switch. I can’t quite pin down the details, the dates. When did I decide that the DVDs weren’t cutting it, that it was time to try a real class? When did I get hooked?
I remember writing yoga in my journal list of “Things to Try before I Die”. One day, I took the chance. There was the Groupon to 3B; I know that was my first real class. I remember feeling really nervous about going to a class, but my friend was going to meet me there and that would make it easier. I thought that I would do things wrong and be judged. I bought a brand new mat right before class and rolled it out with that new mat smell, thinking, “Everyone must know I’m a total noob.” But Wendy, the instructor, treated me like any other student, gave direction clearly and things made sort of made sense. I distinctly remember the light bulb turning on in seated forward fold, when she told us to look up and forward, send our energy forward and we will follow. There was a little shift in my body and my mind.
My friend and I never actually ended up in class together, but I kept going. I made it part of my marathon training; after long runs along the Bosque on Saturday mornings, I went to my beginners yoga class. It was part of my “recovery” because at the time, I never thought yoga could be a workout on it’s own; I mean it’s just stretching, right?
I know that my Groupon ended and eventually there was another one, or two or three; which studios and how long lapsed between regular classes, those are fuzzy details. I remember trying different things around town, but being drawn in to Yoga by Julia. Julia’s classes came with more of those A-HA moments; those clicks where something she said during class would make sense to me for my outside world. I thought it was strange though, that those things that were making the most sense were not about the poses or the physicality of what we were doing in class, there was something deeper. It started to become more than just stretching. I remember crying in class one day: pigeon pose was so hard and Julia was there to remind me that sometimes things get uncomfortable but I was strong and could survive a little discomfort.
Leaving class felt like I had left a massage and a therapy session in one; good for my body, good for my heart. I felt like weight was lifting, figuratively and literally. I was hooked with how yoga made me feel.
It was sometime in that studio that I thought, “I need to do this. I need to teach.” I think it was during one of our pre-class visualizations, when we were encouraged to dream as big and boldly as we could imagine. We were supposed to tap into what made us feel passionate and think about how we could share that passion with the world. I wanted to share the feeling that yoga gave me. The shift in body, in mind, in heart. I dreamed a new big dream, one that was scary and intimidating but one that my heart wanted deeply. When it was time for teacher training, I knew I needed to go back to the studio I started at, my first teacher ever was going to share with me how to teach; it felt right.
During training, we read Yoga Mala; I remember a portion in the intro talking about the fact that a practitioner doesn’t find yoga, that if you’re meant to practice you are drawn to it. Either from a past life or previous experience or because of need. You don’t find yoga; yoga finds you. So is it important for me to remember exact dates? Probably not. Anyway, it was a slow pull, a little tug here and there. Like a fisherman trying to keep from scaring away the fish; just a little reeling in at a time, a hook and then drawn in for keeps. Did I seek it out? Nah, it was presented to me in a “hey you should do this” kind of way. But the more I got into it, the more I went to class, the more I craved it. Yoga helped me shift, it changed my life, it found me when I needed it most and altered my path for the future, or did it just help me get on the path that I was always meant for?