I understand evangelists.
Because – once you’ve had an epiphany you just can’t keep this stuff to yourself. Yoga has changed my body, my mind and my life and …..brothers and sisters it can do the same for you.
Honestly, I find myself yammering on about yoga’s benefits, to everyone, family and friends, my dentist, the washer repairman, the UPS delivery woman…and this is why:
Like a lot of people, I came to yoga because my body hurt and I was stressed out. As a life-long distance runner, I’d logged more than 15,000 miles. And I have Celiac disease, which in people like me, makes bones brittle. Turns out – the combination of Celiac and running can be a bugger on the body. And before I was 35, I’d broken my hip, my knee, my foot and I shattered my wrist. My bones ached. Doctors prescribed drugs by the handful. But nothing seemed to work. So I decided .. enough… I need to figure out how to create peace in my body. Yoga.
Yoga. I'd originally fallen for yoga as a teen, growing up in Boulder. My Mom, a sweet & lovely earth-muffin, had taken me to yoga classes that were held at the nearby elementary school gym. There were no yoga mats and the floors were made from icy cold rubber. The place was dirty and smelled a little like stinky kid’s socks. But I loved the funky yoga vibe and was caught up in the teacher’s sweet stories about Ganesh and Hanuman. Alas, after a few years of practice, I grew up and left for the next chapter of life and tucked that dear little seed of "yoga-love" away for a while.
As a grown-up I tried to find my way back to yoga, but I suppose I wasn’t really in the right head-space for it. I'd become a stressed out Type-A, professional, a software VP, working long hours, wearing smart suits and racking up air miles. I was also a wife and mother of 3. I was doing it ALL. I was harried and strapped for time and when I could find a free hour or two I relaxed by training for half-marathons to burn off the “urgency” of my days. Good lord, what was I thinking?? Like so many working moms I desperately needed to slow down, but I didn't know how and I wasn't patient enough to understand how yoga could help.
Again, I made my way back into a yoga studio. Old habits die hard, though, so I decided to start my path back with a 75 minute Hot Power 2 Class. Great idea. How hard could that be? Yeah… well I found out. After the first 20 or so Chatarangas I was a hot mess. I lay in a quivering heap in child’s pose on my mat and I cocooned there until the teacher told me I could finally lie down in savasana. The next day, when I went back to my office I had to take all my calls through my speaker phone, because my arms were shaking so badly that I couldn’t hold the receiver up to my ear.
But I stuck with it. And, to be honest… it wasn’t pretty. In classes, I was awkward, wobbly and completely unsure of where my body parts were in space. I’d do a Vinyasa flow and feel like, “oh yeah – that’s right, I nailed it” only to realize I had done the whole thing facing the wrong direction. Self-acceptance. I learned that this, too, is part of yoga.
Soon I could feel little changes happening in my body. Weirdly, I felt taller. My legs were stronger. My scrawny arms, had developed muscles. I felt steadier in poses. I discovered that I was bendy in new places. And before I knew it… my body felt like it was mine again. I felt light, centered, grounded, carefree and pain-free.
And this feeling of full body-joy, stuck. Today I practice yoga most every day and I feel like a rock star.
My family witnessed this transformation, and decided that they wanted in on the sweet action, too. So, most days I am blessed to attend yoga class with my husband. And all of my 3 (ostensibly) grown kids practice too. And my earth-muffin mom? Oh she’s 73 and she still practices nearly everyday. And with the clarity that yoga brings, ultimately, I left my stressful job, moved out to a small organic farm in the country where I live with my husband, 3 sweet goats, 8 pet chickens and my dog.
Today, I teach yoga - RYT 500 - and own Inner Waves Organics with my husband – so I can evangelize and share the yoga-love! Because everyone should have this type of epiphany in their body, mind and life.
Yoga has brought such peace and strength and resilience to me and to so many people around me. I want everyone to know about it's magic… including the UPS delivery woman.
Can I get an Amen?