I adore yoga. It would probably be difficult to list the reasons why I love yoga so much. From emotional balance to spiritual peace, yoga makes me a better person. I have taken a course in Thai Yoga, which is amazing and I would love to get certified in, but for me, my daily yoga practice is a very private one.
I began to try yoga 24 years ago when my back began to truly fail me. I was in my late twenties and the damage of my youth was coming back to haunt me. I allowed my intuition to take me from the insane surgery I was offered to an at home yoga practice that has done more for me than I could ever have imagined.
I used to run. Running was an amazing thing for me. It built my stamina, it deepened my breath, it gave me a rush far better than any espresso ever has. It kept me outside and active. I stopped when I moved from a residential area to the city. I didn’t enjoy the disjointed runs that occurred when crossing streets, waiting for traffic. It destroyed my joy and I gave it up.
I found yoga by mistake really. Stumbled on it in a weird way. I read an article about Sting and yoga as I sat in my chiropractors office waiting for one of my twice weekly adjustments that allowed me to stand up, but not without pain. I had been talking to her about healing and the body since I had been told I would need surgery to keep walking. I asked her about yoga as I was being adjusted. She told me she did not feel that yoga alone would fix my problem, but I never really believe people when my gut says differently.
By that time in my life, I had been through alot of trauma, rape, molestation, stalking, were just a few, but they left my mark and I did not go outside any more than I had to. So I did what I usually do, I bought a book on yoga. The first book was very cursory, but it focused on spinal alignment. It was simple but effective, and as I slowly strengthened the muscles in my body, I found that my chiropractic adjustments were finally beginning to hold between sessions. I was overjoyed.
I spent the next few years working on my own, using inner guidance and books to strengthen my private practice. The beauty of a private yoga practice is that you get to gear it towards your body, your own needs in the moment. If I get a little lazy and back off for a few days (stepping over that mat without working out and owning it!) my hips can get a little stiff and I can focus on the exercises that will loosen my hips and relax the sciatic nerve that plagues me when I am under great emotional stress. I can sit in poses for 5 or 10 minutes and really go deep on those poses.
By early the early 2000’s had I worked my way up to a six day practice of 90 minute sessions. My body got stronger than it had probably been in my teens and early twenties when I played tennis, ran and exercised. I dropped weight (no, not quite enough) and the back problems I had in my twenties were basically gone in my early forties. I loved my private practice – It was my salvation.
A few years later, I ended up going through a great deal of turmoil and the yoga practice I had loved became quite unbearable. my deeply broken heart was evident any time I performed an asana which moved the heart center. I would literally start sobbing. I began to avoid those positions, replacing them with ones I could get through a without breaking out in tears. It was a huge mistake by the way. Avoidance always is.
I found that the avoidance of the positions I loved, basic positions that kept my body strong, began to undermine my daily process. I found it was easier to step across that mat each day without sitting down, meditating and then doing my yoga. It took me years to recover – but I never gave it up entirely. I could get myself to do 30 minute sessions several days a week. At one point about two years ago, I worked my way back up to an hour. And that is what I love about a private practice. I am not sure I would have ever gone back if the mat wasn’t staring at me each and every day. Without that daily reminder of what I was avoiding I am simply not sure I would have ever gone back. Scarey really – given what it does for me.
I still do yoga to this day. I work in my bedroom or office depending on where and when I decide to do it, but I keep that mat out to remind me every day what I need to do. To get out or into bed is a daily reminder of what keeps me sane and what keeps me balanced. In this day and age where people seem to have less patience, less compassion and less empathy, it seems like a pretty important thing to be reminded of.