My Yoga Journey

My Yoga JourneyMy own yoga journey began in the mid 1990s, before yoga was really mainstream. At that time, yoga was still on the fringe. It wasn’t offered in fitness clubs, and one was hard-pressed to find a studio within driving distance. I came to yoga with a battered and bruised body from all the high-impact workouts I’d been doing for years, looking for something (anything) that wouldn’t stress my knees any further but would still allow me to be active in ways my body yearned for.

Initially, I bought a yoga video for use at home. I enjoyed the stretching but couldn’t quite get into the groove of it after all the years of higher intensity workouts. Still, I regularly practiced alongside the video. This was in the days I was struggling with, and finally diagnosed with arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, those months that stretched into years when it felt like my body had collapsed in on itself and thrown up its metaphorical hands. My body was, in essence, telling me (screaming at me!) to go easy, turn down the volume, breathe, step inside, find compassion, let go of the critical voice that plagued my every move. I stopped being drawn to the gym, and found ease in the soothing poses and slower pace that yoga offered, a respite of sorts.

After a couple years, by chance (or serendipity), I found a local yoga studio that had recently opened. I jumped right into a power class…and was pleasantly surprised at the intensity and challenge it provided without high impact or stressing my body. I tried the various types of classes, found my favorites, became a regular, and eventually my social circle revolved around yoga friends and instructors. At one point, I realized that much-dreaded stairs had become less of an obstacle for my arthritic knees – they were feeling more supported and lubricated.

I had always been someone perpetually busy… frantic to do it all, never enough time. Being asked to sit quietly with myself at the beginning and end of class, silently and without moving, was quite a challenge. For months, I would get twitchy the moment we were asked to lay down. Even after a challenging class, my body and mind refused to relax. It felt foreign, uneasy. It felt lazy, something to be morally avoided. I couldn’t see the benefit or reasoning behind savasana. My attitude was, either I’m sleeping or accomplishing something. Anything in between should be avoided.

The rest of it snuck up on me…the way yoga make space for reconnecting with yourself, tapping into something greater than yourself, getting in tune with the connection we all share. As someone pressed into religion from a young age who had to petition for her escape, these eastern philosophy and traditions were seeping in through the back door. The messages were filled with love, acceptance, and inner peace, affirming all of life, making space for what is, eschewing labels, providing a new way to view challenges and obstacles.

Yoga was becoming more than a form of physical exercise…it was becoming a way of life. I started shifting my thoughts…realizing the world wasn’t so black and white, good or bad. Feeling the unseen energies around me, recognizing that how I interpret stimuli informed my experience of life, and this interpretation was actually a choice. I began thinking of my health as “a gift wrapped in a challenge” rather than viewing the pain or my body itself as the enemy, a formidable rival to overcome. Despite the ingrained critical voice inside, I experienced moments of self-acceptance and compassion. As my physical practice became stronger and more proficient, and I worked toward balancing my innate flexibility with strength, the pain in my body and soul were easing up. My body was starting to feel nourished again…more whole and less ragged. At one point, I realized that much-dreaded stairs had become less of an obstacle for my arthritic knees – they were feeling more supported and lubricated. I was accomplishing more but doing less…even laying around on the floor in savasana was becoming a treat, a few treasured moments with myself filled with grace and serenity before the outside world beckoned.

Almost 15 years later, yoga has become such a part of me I can’t separate the two. I received my certifiation and taught for several years, loving the feeling of opening the door for others to this magical place. Now, I do it for myself. Yoga class and meditation are always there to bring me back to myself, back to my center, aligned with my higher self and my personal Divine (who is very different than the God of my childhood).

I am so grateful for the grace yoga brings to my life.

DO YOU PRACTICE YOGA? WHAT DOES YOGA MEAN TO YOU? I’d love to hear from you! Your response may be included (with your permission) in my next book on yoga!


Yours in health,


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