Crashing to the Mat. ~ Natalie Winters

Via elephant journal
on May 28, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

Childs Pose

I found yoga when I also found great pain.

It was so easy, floating through life by pushing aside uncomfortable feelings. The symptoms were surely there: the occasional angry outburst or overreaction, unexpected tears for the proverbial glass of spilled milk.  But of course, I could not see them.

I was not truly seeing myself.

I would describe to a close friend how these occasional bursts of uncontrollable emotions terrified me. The voracity with which they attacked my heart and thrust their negative energy into my body, tensing muscles in my back and neck, wreaking havoc and leaving insecurity and vulnerability in their wake.

Inevitably, the pain becomes so strong it overwhelms. I would constantly seek the company of others, fearing to be alone with my thoughts. Of course that would never last. At some point, we are all alone.

Crashing to my knees, I found myself pulling out the old yoga mat I’d once endeared myself to in college.

I yearned for that momentary serenity I remembered following the end of a grueling hot yoga class. That moment of bliss, when I was no longer victim to my inner critic and the emotional turmoil that swirled constantly within.

On my mat, there was only now.

I had to let go of that which does not serve me, because it was slowly draining my soul from within.

On my mat, there was only me.

I learned to quiet the mind.  In order to conquer my shadows, I had to snuggle up inside them. I had to open my mind and heart to the pain that I feared and accept the hurt I felt within. Sometimes I cried.  Sometimes I smiled. But I stopped running away.

On my mat, there was love.

I learned that there were things about myself I didn’t like. I realized that I am not perfect, that it is ok to be afraid.

To love passionately is to accept unconditionally that we are all here doing our best amidst the chaos. After all, everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.



NatalieWintersNatalie aims to live this life by following the fullest and most expressive path possible. Whether through musical composition, theatre, dance, yoga, or meditation, she has felt a lifelong connection to creative self-expression. She hopes to continue to celebrate every moment. A recovering perfectionist, she finds solace in candles and bath salts. One day she will leave her East Coast desk job and open a yoga studio in California.




Like elephant yoga on Facebook.



Assistant Ed: Josie Huang/Kate Bartolotta






About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to


7 Responses to “Crashing to the Mat. ~ Natalie Winters”

  1. Dao says:

    Inspiring post, thanks for sharing Natalie!

  2. Natalie says:

    Thanks for reading Dao, and I hope you find a yoga studio to call home soon!

  3. tee says:

    Natalie, you are an amazing woman, beautiful in so many ways. You are finding your strength and your path. I'm cheering for you each step of the way.

  4. Aissa says:

    Absolutely amazing! So proud of you, girl!

  5. Yes, yes, it is so okay to be afraid! Seems our almost concurrent posts have A LOT in common, dear Natalie. I love yours and send all blessings and light on your Way!

  6. Natalie says:

    Isn't it amazing how lives often fall into parallel? The universe works in mysterious ways 🙂 Best wishes to you on your journey

  7. Jonathan says:

    This is excellent! Thanks, Natalie. I'm looking forward to more.