I had been anticipating this day for well, probably a couple of months now. With excitement, achievement, pride etc… But on the night before it and the days leading up to, I felt, well, a lack of any excitement or even emotion over it.
So you see, one year ago I stepped onto the mat, you know, the elusive yoga mat, that we are told to “arrive” on at the beginning of class. Yeah that one, A year ago I stepped onto it and into the hot room.
I’ve been doing yoga for many years, I remember my first class, probably 12 years ago. The thing is, I did it, I was “good” at it, but I didn’t “get” it. So I came. I went. Never understanding the “practice” aspect even at times where I was definitely learning and trying.
It wasn’t until I needed yoga, did I get it. The moments between movement that we can dance on a cellular level, meditating in the microsecond. Yeah, don’t worry, that did not happen overnight. So here I am one year later, I poured out a lot of sweat (oh did I mention it was hot yoga) oh yeah, tears (they do happen just wait for them) and laughter(this can happen too, it’s only as serious as you make, and life is serious enough) Oh and people are always farting it is not just a myth. It happens. So, I committed myself to going to class everyday. No breaks. No Christmas or New Years off, I was diving deep. 365 day challenge. Looking at my reflection in the mirror every morning eyes wide shut.
So in truth, I actually did not plan this “challenge” if you will, I just knew when I walked in the studio that day one year ago that I needed to be there and so I kept coming back….
For a while I made it a non negotiable, I like(d) routine, so it became as much. After 1 week it was 30 days…After that, I said “I really think I should keep coming” And not unlike Forrest Gump and his running, I kinda just kept doubling up my goal until… Until, and here’s the good part, until I said even after a year of going every day, I’ll probably just keep going. And now THAT, THAT was the ultimate gift I had never expected to receive. I had fallen in love with the air that I breathed for those 60 minutes or more every day. They sustained me, fulfilled me, and inspired me, comforted me. Even when I fucking hated it. It didn’t matter how much, I would always come back. I guess I had eventually arrived on my mat.
Yoga for me is meditation. It is pushing physical boundaries I once explored. It is about leaving it all out there as I once did as a performer. Yoga is about space, silence, gratitude and flexibility.
Yoga does not end on your mat, I get that now.
It’s so interesting, for the majority of my active life people remark on how very flexible I was/am. And I don’t disagree. But not unlike strength, not unlike any skill, I worked toward that flexibility for many years before and during yoga. I’ve often felt people dismiss it, a talent or a born with it attitude, the truth is we are all born with it, it is just that some people work that aspect more than others. There were times in my ballet training years where I would literally fall asleep in the splits. One does not wake up with a six pack and say it’s genes. You work, you sweat and you gain. So is the same with flexibility. Sometimes we become inflexible in our body, mind and our actions.
I’m still reaching to gain that flexibility I was once born with, yes there is more for me, and to develop and nurture it. I will forever be exploring stillness as it has lead me deeper to peace and present moment awareness. More laughter and lightness to contrast my dark.
So here it is one year later. I’m still the same person, just more so. A little more flexible, more so in my mind. And I like that. It hasn’t changed me but it has been a gift.
So not unlike my prediction that I mentioned earlier, the next day I got up, and went back into class. I do recognize the body deserves a break too. And that is something for me to explore in different ways. But knowing that I get what I give there, that I stretch and strengthen mind and body, that is invaluable to me and will be something I always will spend time and energy on.
Lastly I want to say. That me doing this makes me in no way a better “yogi” than you, or stronger or more flexible. It is just that it was exactly what I needed and because of that growth I share this story with you.
This is dedicated to the guides that walked me through all the days with me. You are so beautiful to me and I will forever be grateful. Jodie Neault, Julie Disher, Donovan Mahoney, Katherine Moore, Cathy High, and Chris Dugan.