Many people, yoga teachers especially, claim that their relationships with yoga were love at first breath. For me, my relationship with yoga started with skepticism and trepidation. I was a dancer, I was strong and flexible and just didn’t get why I should spend time in a yoga class when I could be using that time to take another dance class. To be honest, I thought yoga was kind of stupid. To be brutally honest, I was kind of stupid and close minded – in short, I just didn’t get it. I had tremendous amounts of anxiety in those days, I still do, slowing down, focusing on my breath, quieting my mind, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to be with myself that intimately.
Years after I had decided yoga was not for me, my friend and I started going to a yoga class at the gym we belonged to once a week. It was her idea. I decided yoga was okay-ish. About a year later she asked if I would join her for a class at a yoga studio in our neighborhood. I agreed. I went sporadically with her when it fit in my schedule. It wasn’t awful, but I didn’t love it. During this time things in my life started shifting and changing in ways that left me feeling uprooted and totally lost within my own life. Something deep within me whispered, “Go to yoga.” So I did. Before I knew it I was meticulously arranging my schedule so that I could get to yoga class as often as possible. On days that I could not get to class I felt shaky, ungrounded, emotionally explosive, and out of control. I started going to class every day. I slowly found that I was able to face myself, face my life, accept the disasters I had created, accept the disasters I hadn’t created, and deal with it all (more or less). And thus was the start of my relationship with my yoga practice.
About a year after I began practicing regularly I moved across the country to start graduate school. One of the first things I did upon settling into my new apartment was to Google search the closest yoga studios. I knew that I needed my yoga practice to keep me grounded through the huge changes that were taking place in my life. My practice carried me through all of the up’s and down’s life had in store for me. There were times when I stuck to a regular class schedule. There were times when I let life get in the way. My yoga practice and I were still getting to know each other, still trying to figure it all out. It was six years before we settled into a consistent daily meeting.
My yoga practice accepts me just as I am, not matter what I bring to my mat. As a result I have begun to more fully accept myself. Some days it is easy to get on my mat. Some days it is a struggle. I never regret practicing and I always feel better afterward. While it was not love at first breath, my yoga practice and I have settled into our routine together just like an old married couple, sometimes bickering, but fully committed to sticking it out through thick and thin.