A Love Letter to Yoga. ~ Emily Hassman

Via elephant journal
on Feb 18, 2012
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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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14 Responses to “A Love Letter to Yoga. ~ Emily Hassman”

  1. Shawna says:

    this is lovely. Smiling. "I should have known you'd have the most wonderful friends". Yes, yoga friends are wonderful! Thanks for sharing Emily.

  2. Sonyata says:

    What a touching, sweet letter. I think that many of us have experienced this. I fell in love after my first date. The effects in my life, and my body were so rapid that I wondered "why didn't I find this twenty years ago?", and "what better thing do I have to do with the rest of my life?"

    After my first year, my beloved studio closed due to the economic meltdown. "No!!!". I refused to let go. So I quit my job and made the journey to San Francisco for my instructor certification. I returned to Las Vegas a month later and began to teach classes on my own. In the next two years I taught about six hundred classes, struggling to survive. I am still in love with yoga, and have met so many cool people, gone to so many great seminars and master classes. And I have a fairly large collections of yoga books.

    May your second year be even better than the first. Peace, and Namaste.

  3. karlsaliter says:

    Ten thumbs up! Just posted to Elephant Spirituality on Facebook.

  4. spider says:

    "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."

    –This is SO me, Emily! I have been going to yoga for about three months and I am in love. Yoga has completely changed my life. Due to a demanding job, I'm not able to make it to yoga as much I like, but I strive to get there as often as possible, and it always makes me feel good, too!!


  5. veganyoginimama says:

    I am so honored to call this sweet author my friend and fellow yogini. This is such a beautiful tribute to yoga and to the self-love that we cultivate on our mats and, hopefully, take with us out into this sometimes crazy, always beautiful thing called Life.

  6. megan4tweezy says:

    I love yoga too. And I also love you.


    Your stalker

  7. […] The creative energy absolutely bursting out my ears… unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve always had a creative drive, but usually not enough to actually do anything about it. During this 40 days, though, I’ve felt so inspired and motivated. This was the most unexpected result of my practice, and I loved it. I was even inspired to go way outside my comfort zone and submit an article to Elephant Journal! […]

  8. Chris says:

    🙂 January, next year I’ll be glad to be looking back on my first dedicated year with yoga as well. I’m using your 40 day commitment as inspiration to do the same myself – soon, and then also next year as well, perhaps a regular cycle of sorts. Thanks for writing 🙂

  9. Drupadi says:

    Loooveee it!

    I am a newbie in Yoga, and just like you in the beginning, there were times when I only did yoga during vacation. But I started to fall in love with it, and now, it has been 6 months that I'm practising regularly. This has made my days brighter and energized 🙂

    Thanks for your post!

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Love this! Featured on top of our front page, http://www.elephantjournal.com right now. With thanks, send more! ~ Waylon

  11. LOVE… I had many similar musings that first year. Now yoga and i are married and some days yoga doesn't see the best me AT ALL but we spend every day together! sometimes I question the relationship but I always come back…best relationship of my life :

  12. Becky- RYT, Miami says:

    I love yoga too! I always feel like I'm making the right choice when I pick time for yoga. I'm visiting family in Atlanta next March. Can you recommend a studio for a drop in class?

  13. April Arotin says:

    "The more I loved you, the more you taught me to love myself. I am so grateful for that gift." Couldn't feel more true and sweet. Thank you for this! Love!

  14. ehassman says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! I'm coming up on the 2 year anniversary now… wow!