When I stand on my mat, something magical happens.
Ta Da! Welcome to Yoga…
It brings a smile to my face when I think about my first yoga class: the room was on fire, my yoga clothes were too tight and I couldn’t catch my breath.
After a few months of accidentally dehydrating my body (I wasn’t drinking enough water to support the sweat), I knew I needed a change. A friend of mine convinced me to try another style of yoga, which was completely different from what I was used to. She was in very good shape, so I thought this could be a promising shift.
Unaware of what I was getting myself into, I decided to drop into a class, mid-enrollment. After doing yoga once a week for two months, I was an expert—right?
Ha! What a joke!
I had no idea what I was in for: quad-burners, back-crushers, hamstring-screamers, arm-killers and Darth Vader breathing.
Where was I?
I looked around, and to my amazement, saw women who were at least ten years older than me flowing effortlessly through a series of movements designed to heat and detoxify the body. To top it off, the names of the postures were all given in Sanskrit (the ancient language of yoga), so I was constantly craning my neck around to check out what everyone else was doing. I felt like an amateur.
But, after the class was over and the initial shock of what had just happened subsided, I remember how beautifully strange I felt. I was hooked.
I knew the learning curve was going to be steep—but I was up for it.
And Now for My Next Trick…
A few years trickled by and I continued to feel amazement in each yoga class. I could hardly believe that I could do headstands, push-ups, deep breathing and relaxation all in one place—without competition.
The highs and lows of the physical practice were perplexing and only intensified my determination to master the postures and become more flexible. I decided to totally commit to this discipline which held so many mysteries that I wanted to unravel.
There was so much emotion when I practiced. I never felt so alive.
In chest-openers, I could hear my heart stretching with love and joy, yet also releasing pain; in forward-folds I would gain perspective and become introverted and introspective; in twists I could digest issues and problems with greater ease—there was something mysterious happening.
I was confused, but also receptive to my walls breaking down, unearthing the essence of who I really was.
My Magic Carpet…
Even though I enjoy gentle and challenging postures, I have now developed a strong appreciation for the complementary aspects of meditation and controlled breathing.
Just ask my husband: he sends me to my mat for a timeout if I’m having a bad day. Even though I’m like a kid who is reluctant, irritated and sulky—I go.
When I stand on my mat, something magical happens. As I contemplate leaving my sacred space, without even realizing it, I make my way to the top of my mat, into mountain pose. I stand there, without a real purpose, and sway back and forth.
My mind starts to settle as I take rag doll (Uttanasana). Without realizing it, I have breathed my way into postures of surrender and am now ready for meditation. I grab my mala beads and start repeating my mantra.
Time passes and I open my eyes. I am renewed.
I walk back to where my husband is seated; he can physically see the change in me, and he smiles.This difference is not an illusion or slight of hand, it is something real and tangible.
It may seem like a trick, but the body and mind will release so much tension, if we allow it. It can take just minutes for us to rejuvenate.
Yoga is mystical, mysterious and real.
Next time you’re in a mood, jump on your yoga mat with no expectations and just wait to see what happens—you may even pull a rabbit out of your hat.
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Assistant Editor: Renée Claude / Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photo: Canon in 2d/Flickr
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July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. How to Love a Woman who Scares You. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. I Still Think of You. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. Reading This Takes Guts. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD.