This is the fourth post in a series of yoga stories from readers. Tell us how yoga changed your life and go in the draw to win a yoga prize package.
Submitted by AF of the North Island
I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then. – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I was newly single and reeling from my first ever broken heart.
I was over-worked and highly stressed. I was in my third year of business (owner/operator) and trying desperately to not fail at it. I had just learned that I was heavily in debt to IRD.
I was living (and still do) thousands of air-miles from my family and childhood friends.
I was hopeless and unhappy. It was February 2009, I was turning 30, and I was sniffing the air for a BIG change.
I found a flyer for a new yoga class and I gave it a go. I enjoyed it.
I especially enjoyed having to think about something other than the usual thoughts that would fill my mind:
…because let’s face it, when you’re holding warrior three pose there is no brain-space for anything other than concentration on aligning your hips, squaring your shoulders, flexing the foot, contracting the abs, titling the pelvis, finding your drishti point, oh and don’t forget to breathe!!!
I enjoyed the mental break and the physical workout. Nothing else to do – except keep going to class!
What really changed?
There was no one defining moment. There was no emotional outpour in class. There was no mind blowing experience. What began as somewhat awkward exercise evolved into a (slightly!) more graceful series of poses.
With each passing week my body began to open up a bit, my arms and thighs began to feel a little stronger, sun salutes became enjoyable, my back became more flexible, when sitting cross-legged my knees began to drop a little closer to the ground.
The stiffness in my body was beginning to move. I now know that the stiffness in my mind was beginning to move too. A tightness I never even knew existed within me – so much holding on to. I was experiencing my first teeny tiny glimpses of what it means to let go, to be self-aware, to be awake, to be conscious. I wanted to know more.
Now, I am curious. I want to know more about the history, tradition and philosophy of yoga. I want to know more about the eight limbs and the chakras.
I want to understand how my body is put together. I want to grow and learn and experience as much as I can.
I have a new found interest in science, quantum physics and biology of the brain. I want to read about buddhism. I want to read about western and eastern models of psychology. I want to read the stories of those that have undergone personal and spiritual transformations.
I want to chant. I want to learn how to meditate. I want to become more self-aware. I pour over it all and I feel like I will never know enough, and I love that.
Slowly, I can feel the benefits of all of this. It shows itself to me a little more with each passing month.
My decision to submit this article was based on curiosity. I was curious to read the end result of my musings on how ‘yoga has helped me’. I hadn’t mused on paper before!
I have just fifteen months of personal experience of a yoga journey to draw from. I have so much more life to learn from. A new kind of learning with what feels like a new set of eyes. Yes, I have no doubt I will continue to practice yoga asana and the thought delights me.
I now know what that practice can teach me and help me to experience. Yoga has taught me to see the opportunities to learn and grow from almost everything and everyone around me.
It is the prospect of putting these learnings into practice that really excites me.