I remember walking into my first yoga class like it was yesterday. I did not grow up in an environment where I knew anyone who attended yoga classes. Everyone was a cardio or weight room fanatic (which is absolutely cool, I’m not here to pass judgment). It just never fit me. Cardio couldn’t hold my attention long enough to create any true difference and motivation lacked a few weight machines in. I would end up leaving the gym feeling less than successful and overall unmotivated to come back. I watched television and listened to social cues about “people who yoga” and truly only had those two tools to form an opinion for the practice. I think because of that I had quite a few notions about what and who I was going to encounter in the world of yoga. I also had preconceived ideas on my abilities and how terrible I would be at being flexible but I finally was willing to give it a chance. Life was in a pretty weird place for me and I needed something to push me forward. With all of this in mind, I went to my first class.
I arrived to class to find a sweet and more than welcoming instructor who set me up with a mat and props. I awkwardly sat on my mat and waited as a few other students piled in. We had a small meditation in the beginning; which I kept peaking around to see if anyone was actually doing. FYI, they were. The actual physical part of that first class was exhausting. I had no idea which type of yoga I had signed up for and looking back I am impressed I even made it through the class. I was too stubborn to take child’s pose so I suffered through it. I was in an hour and a half Ashtanga class with a teacher that was kind but firm. We went by each breath count exactly as it was meant to flow and I was barely able to keep up. I had no idea what any posture name was so by the time I was able to visually follow into the position, we were leaving it. Talk. About. Exhausted. And. Defeated. It was in this moment of complete defeat at the end of class that I was led through my first shavasana. I remember being led through a relaxation talk followed by the instructor reading a passage from a book. This was the first time I ever noticed how high and full of tension my shoulders used to be. She came by and gently pressed them down and away from the neck and it was instantly releasing. How had I never noticed that about myself? I couldn’t tell you what that passage was now but it was more than relevant to my life at that time and I had to fight back tears hearing it. I left class knowing my body a little more and realizing I needed to hold back emotions in my life less in order to find more peace with them. This is when things changed for me.
I continued to attend classes. I would physically get my butt kicked and emotionally pour my pain into my mat. Both of these things together started to build a stronger mental aspect in my life. It was the most liberating and releasing experience each time. And that was my process for a while. I began wanting more connection to myself and decided only a year into yoga to join a teacher training program. The transformation I would find there was beyond anything I could expect as I learned how to truly heal all parts of me with time and practice. I learned how to cope, how to find wisdom through self-study, and how truly magical I am no matter any circumstance life presently has me in.
I share all of this to say, everyone comes to yoga for one reason or another. It may be physically, mentally, or emotionally charged. You may find the reason you originally chose is not the reason at all but instead only a path which led you to the true calling it had for you. In my case, the Universe brought me here to encourage others to be light in themselves, to promote self-love, and provide guidance for any feeling less than. Your path may only bring you to a realization you needed in your life and that is wonderfully acceptable.
I think Nahko says it best as, “Always be open to your path and your journey”. And this is what I hope for you.