I can remember my first Yoga class. It was a memory and a light that was shone for me in a time when I needed it more than I realized. I was studying abroad in Alicante, Spain my junior year in college. A friend of mine invited me to join her at the evening Yoga class. As we walked through the old cobblestone streets with colored buildings and iron signs, we came upon a large black door in an alleyway. We walked quietly up the stairs and I suddenly felt a change in the air, in my body, in the mood, in life. It felt incredibly sacred. We continued through the doorway to an open large room with high ceilings and old wood floors.
There were white drapes and subtle music playing in the background. The room was lit by dozens of candles. Each person was on a mat in precise rows facing large windows that overlooked the streets below. I borrowed a mat and found a place that seemed to be mine. From then on, I didn’t speak to anyone else and I felt this intense heaviness and went inward; something I was not used to but it was happening whether I liked it or not. The teacher softly began teaching the class and we all started moving together, yet separately. It was beautiful just to listen to her instruction as she guided us in Spanish. I had never done Yoga before but it seemed so natural and beautiful in my body. Towards the end of the practice, she instructed us into headstand. I was intimidated to do it, but just listened and up I easily went. (Mind you I had gained 20 pounds during my semester and had lost connection with my Self). At the end of class, my friend and I quietly chatted about how beautiful it was as we walked home in the night.
I got home to my Senora’s house and laid in bed. What happened? I felt intense emotions yet an incredible peace. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and had feelings I couldn’t explain. I was also a little scared by the experience. Now that I look back it was one of my first true awakenings, re-remembering and connecting to my Self and the true world around me. Recently, for the past 14 years, I have had an ebb and flowing discipline of practice, but somehow unknowingly find myself at a class or home practice when I needed it without even really knowing why. Since I was still so disconnected from my body, I didn’t truly recognize the benefits and responses from my Yoga practice. I just chalked it up as some good exercise that wasn’t running.
Many years later, as I entered Motherhood, I found myself needing to learn more about the bigger picture and how I fit into it. I felt that in order to show up as a Mother, I had some further healing to do; never mind stay on top of my self care. I began a disciplined Yoga practice at home, unable to afford the time and cost of community yoga. Things began unfolding in my life in many ways. Some dark, some bright. I had been through big transformations in my life in the past, but this time I really felt it and was participating in it.
Fast forward about 5 years and my husband and I decided to take a leap of faith. He resigned from his successful yet unfulfilling corporate job and we bought a whitewater rafting company, sold most of our belongings and moved about 3 hours away. With two small children and my world being rocked upside down, I felt like I was drowning. I felt the urge to join a local Yoga studio and go regularly in addition to my daily morning meditation practice.
As my husband worked 24/7 and the amount of change we went through, I think I cried more after each practice than ever before. But I felt welcomed in a community that I knew I belonged in. I saw a flyer come up for a Yoga Teacher Training and I thought that I must sign up. I came from a corporate business background and a belief system that told me what were “real jobs” and what weren’t. I had never had the desire to become a Yoga teacher in the past. I had no money to invest. But I called and signed up. There just wasn’t any question, I had to do it.
I spent the next 10 months immersed in Yoga Teacher Training and it opened my eyes in a way they had only been sporadically opened in the past. All of these feelings and thoughts I had about life and spiritually, that I felt I had always known, were validated while I studied Yoga even more.
Life is a constant teacher to help us remember who we are, the divinity in our Self. But it doesn’t work unless you have the capacity to listen. The timing has to be right and you have to be willing and able to listen. Yoga has been a tool for me to reconnect with myself, my meaning and purpose. It strengthens me mentally, physically and spiritually. I am so excited to continue to learn and now as a teacher, to share. To use my creativity and offer the same for others. From business suit to yoga pants, I know it’s my path. I know I am back on my path.