I've been thinking about this question for awhile now as I was asked to write about and share my journey. I feel like I've done that in bits and pieces so to sit down and really write about it almost seems redundant. However, last month I spoke at a local community event and several of my students said they didn't know how I got started.
I began my journey into yoga as a last resort for relief from chronic pain. It wasn't something I had researched or even thought about. One day as I was riding my scooter on the back roads near my home and I saw a sign that said YOGA and a website. Figuring I had nothing to lose I looked up the schedule and found a restorative class on Monday evenings. It sounded like a good place to start. I was active and worked out at the gym but I had no idea what to expect from yoga other than what I'd seen on magazines. After my first class, I noticed immediate results. I felt a complete sense of calm and slept well for the first time that I could remember. I noticed I felt better physically, but I also noticed I felt better mentally. My overall well-being began to shift. I wanted to do more. I wanted to feel more. So I began to branch out to different styles of classes, different studios and teachers. I couldn't believe the change I felt. I was happier and awake. For me the physical benefits of the practice became secondary. I was beginning the process of uncovering my true self. It was scary and exhilarating all at once.
YOGA became part of me. It helped me through grief following my Dad's unexpected passing. It saved my heart, literally. It has opened me up to the person God created me to be and provided me the outlet to let all the other $#!% go! As I released emotions that had been stuck for many years, my physical pain began to go away. Had I really denied myself and covered up my truth for 40 years?
Websters defines journey as something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another. We have many journeys in a lifetime. We can look back and see them for their worth individually but also look at them as a whole in our self-discovery. I believe I was meant to see the sign that day and I was meant to begin my yoga journey the way I did. It allowed me a very pure start to the practice. I wasn't taken in by flashy teaching or standing on my head (that came later), but I experienced for the first time an inner connection to myself and to my Spirit that I wanted to know more about. As I grew in my journey and continued to uncover myself from the layers I'd piled on over the years, something else began to shift. I no longer felt comfortable in my own skin. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know myself. I knew I was a wife, a mom, a worker, a daughter etc. But who was "I"? I only knew myself as what others classified me as. People pleasing, perfectionist, emotionally constipated and easily manipulated. I was not only classified as such I was told I was those things, so I molded myself to fit. The shift was, the more I uncovered myself through yoga and meditation, the more I didn't want to be any of those things. It wasn't like I woke up one day and said, "I'm a new person." These were patterns and layers that were created from a very early age that I had spent my whole life attached to. With each layer that lifted I opened up more and more to the true person underneath. My purpose grew and every step I took moved me forward. I felt free! Like I'd just met this great gal for the first time in my life and she was pretty freakin' fantastic! I knew it was going to be my life's journey to let her out. Every savasana from now until the end of time will be releasing one more layer.
The Journey Continues ~
"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why."—Mark Twain
Knowing my purpose is a gift. Understanding what we're put on earth for, is something that so many question and some never really know. My purpose from a very young age was to help people. Maybe it was the day I was born that this began to take root in my DNA, but I know exactly the day when I found out why. It was a calling that there was more, much more for me to do. And I believe it came at a time when I was finally going to be strong enough to take the journey. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it felt 100% natural to me even though it was taking me completely out of my Tucked-In-Self. Without my practice, I would have never been prepared for what God had in store for me. To reach people through yoga. To bring the practice to those who felt it was out of their reach in a safe and inclusive way. Little did I know at the time that such a large part of the journey would be about my recovery. When I'm in my dharma, my heart is wide open. I can feel it deep in my core and it comes gushing out of me. I feel the hand of God on my shoulder guiding me. And all I want to do is share it in it's purest form, directly from the heart ~ This is why I take the journey.