February 18, 2012

A Love Letter to Yoga. ~ Emily Hassman

One year ago, I began this life-changing journey called yoga.

I must admit, though, that I had taken a few classes before—but only on vacation. The things we do on vacation do not really count, or do they? I say that since although I came home talking about it, I did not bring yoga home with me, into my daily life. That is what made February 2, 2011, a special date. It was on that day that my yoga practice took root in my real life.

It was not love at first sight, either. It was barely “like” at first sight—just enough spark was there, though, and I kept trying. Something kept drawing me back to class—6:30 am class, even! It has to be something special to interest me at that hour. Before long, I was hooked. And one year later, yoga is in my life to stay. Now I am ready to profess my adoration, with all the tenderness and enthusiasm of new love.

Here is my love letter to yoga, on our 1-year anniversary:

Dear yoga,

Today is our 1-year anniversary. Did you remember?

By my notes, we had our first real date on February 2, 2011. We arranged to meet in the cold, pre-dawn hour before work. I was not sure what to wear or how to do my hair. I was nervous and awkward, but you were kind to me anyway.

We saw each other again a few times that month. By March, I began to suspect that you were something special. I started making an effort to see you more, brimming with shy enthusiasm. You returned my advances and showed up to meet me each and every time I asked to see you at 6:30 am.

By April, I wanted to spend more time with you. I had enjoyed our early morning sun saluting, making the sun rise together, but I was ready to see you in the daylight hours too. I was ready to take our relationship to the next level.

I took what felt like a giant leap of faith: I joined a studio, just to get to know you better. I was excited but scared about this step. It felt like a big commitment, a lot of money. I was worried what people would think when they saw us together. (Certainly, I did not think I looked like your type.) But I wanted to know more about you, and this seemed like the best way.

Again, you were kind. You held my hand as we explored each other in this new light. You introduced me to your circle of friends and teachers. I was shy, but you were patient and they were welcoming. I should have known you would have the most wonderful friends!

We spent the summer months going hot and heavy: sweaty Saturday mornings, still with bedhead; planned meetings after work; the occasional furtive hour at lunchtime. I even took you on vacation with me. Some days, you were gentle. Other days, you left me breathless and ecstatic. I admit that, some days, you challenged and even frustrated me. Many other days, you made me feel radiant and beautiful.

We were becoming so comfortable together, seeing each other almost every day. I was secretly beginning to think long-term about our relationship.

Then, in the fall, I began graduate school. I found less room for you in my life. Much to my surprise, you were not jealous. Every time I made time for you, you were there. You waited patiently for me. Homework piled on, but we made the best of the time we had together.

The holidays were busy too, and I did not make time for you often enough. And still, you welcomed me with open arms. I realized that I deeply missed you when I was away. Without you, my life was missing something. I felt incomplete without you.

Then came the New Year, and with it, new resolutions and commitments. For my resolution, I declared my commitment to you—to us. I chose to dedicate time to you every day for 40 days. It was a big step, but I was ready to devote myself. 26 days in so far, and I am so glad to be with you daily.

One year into our relationship and I still look forward to spending time with you. That makes an anniversary worth celebrating! And celebrate we did, with a sweaty, hot and packed vinyasa flow class. I took a spot right up front, so that everyone could see how proud I was to be with you.

Our first year together has been such a gift. I realize now that I spent the whole year learning about you, but you spent this whole year teaching me about myself. The more I loved you, the more you taught me to love myself. I am so grateful for that gift.

Thank you for a beautiful year. Here’s to many more!

Love, Emily

Emily Hassman
is an IT trainer by profession, a grad student by night, and a yogini in all the moments in between. She lives outside Atlanta—and no, don’t call it Hotlanta. She blogs at Videos of Kittens.

Edited by Assistant Yoga Editor Soumyajeet Chattaraj.

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