I can still remember my first good yoga class. My breath was quite literally taken away, and when it returned, it was flowing freely and my body was responding in a way that I cannot describe with words.
Of course my muscles were tight and my body was tense and my breath was sporadic and labored when I first began, because I was not conditioned for such movement. Even though I was challenged beyond what I had imagined walking into that class, I knew that this was something I would come back time and again.
I took sporadic classes while in college, mostly when I had money and could afford to go, and then back to running or weights when I couldn’t. After college, when I first began doing personal training was when I re-explored the world of yoga. I found a small studio close by to where I was working and I signed up for my first month of unlimited classes, and I committed to three ninety minute classes each week, to really give my body a chance to get used to the movement and flexibility it required. It was a challenge but it was so worth it.
I fell in love. I would crave going to classes, and I would think about breathing and length of breath and holding my breath and three part breath, and belly breathing, and nostril breathing… I came to crave this movement and breath, deep in my bones. And through continued practice I came to experience a sense of peace and calm that I don’t believe I had ever experienced before. Somehow being guided to an inner stillness, in the midst of slow and steady movement combined with deep breathing, brought me to life.
I signed up for my first yoga teacher training, being taught my current yoga instructor. I knew during that first weekend training that I would take many more of these, and I knew in an instant that I wanted to share what I had personally discovered in my body, with everyone I came in contact with.
Through the program I was enrolled in, we were required to do community services hours of teaching for our level 1 completion, and I signed up to do this at the studio I took classes at. I was so nervous, and I was insecure and self-conscious, and I stumbled all over my words during my first class. Thankfully those who attended were very patient and came back for the next one. Through those first few months of teaching and continuing to attend classes, I felt that I was right where I was supposed to be, perhaps for the first time in my life, I was really enjoying what I was doing. I was training at a gym most days of the week, journeying alongside others who were seeking health and strength in their lives, and I was guiding others through yoga practice one day a week, and I was actually taking care of myself in between, which was such a beautiful experience and balance, I had been seeking for years.
Over the years, yoga has continued to be a source of strength and stillness for me, reminding me of the importance of being present for my own body, and learning to moderate my own breath, and acknowledge the communication my body was trying to have with my mind. As I have become more personally aware of my body and my thoughts/feelings, I have been able to be far more present for others. This has in turn guided my practice as a therapist, as I continually seek to create healthy connections that I believe have the power to heal much of the pain that life gifts us with.
Today I am reminded of a quote by Rush Fishel, that I have come back to time and time again… “I will take time to be alone today. I will take time to be quiet. In the silence, I will listen.. and I will hear my answers”.