Dripping with sweat, on my knees, hands in prayer position, drishti affixed at my nose, I prepare to arch my recently healed back into Kapotasana.
In this moment, everything around me dissipates.
Thoughts disappear, ego disappears, my surroundings are no longer in sight.
All I know in this moment is breath, energy, concentration.
My teacher, Sharath Jois, unequivocally calls this feeling God; we feel a sense of bliss, which is God, when we practice yoga, he says.
Kapotasana, and many yoga poses alike, bring up deeply rooted emotions as we bend our bodies beyond what the mind believes capable. The more we allow the practice, the more old emotions and patterns release, creating space for change.
It is not by accident those of us who choose to devote our life’s path to the practice are deeply touched by yoga (simply, the path and practice of inward study). What often begins as a casual activity to meet new people or try something different can drastically shift one’s entire life path.
We have all been there: at first you notice the changes in strength and flexibility in the body. Then one day you find yourself crying during pigeon pose, and you never cry! All of a sudden you cannot go a day without your practice. Yes, your practice is now a part of you, a part of your daily routine.
The yoga practice has begun to change you from the inside-out.
Where you were once held back from speaking your mind (your truth), now you have a voice. Things you never dared dream, you now know are possible.
Yoga is a powerful catalyst that calms and connects mind-body-heart-soul so we may live our truth. It’s called awakening.
Don’t get it confused—this is nothing extreme, scary or out of your reach. It is very real and almost certainly happening to you if you have practiced yoga consistently for more any length of time.
Sure, there are different levels and different meanings of the word “awakening,” but when you begin to see beyond the superficial material world around and look deep within, you are awakening to your truth, the truth of life itself.
There is no turning back once we have opened our eyes.
My story is no different than your story, no different than the story of many thousands and millions of people around the world. Yoga is the tool which is helping us heal on such a deep level that the very cells we are made of change. We cleanse, detoxify, release patterns and memories, empty, and open to new possibilities.
We literally become new people through the practice.
Yoga opens us to love. For many, the path of yoga is the Ultimate Love Story.
The Yoga Love Story is love of self. We love ourselves enough to heal ourselves, and the path of yoga is a powerful means of self-healing. This quite often means facing the truth that we can no longer live the lives we have been living.
I am one of these people, who recognized my truth in a large part due to deep changes resulting from my yoga practice. I had no choice but to change the course of my life.
I felt my soul would have died a slow death if I had remained living my pre-yoga life.
I meet people every day who are moved so deeply along their journey that they have undergone or are undergoing huge life transformations, quite often, in part, as a result of living the life of a yogi.
Then there are exceptional individuals impacted so greatly by the Yoga Love Story—in one way or another—that their self-transformation is so profound, they are moved to extend beyond themselves to create positive change in the world around them.
Derneeka Cruse, founder of You, In Bloom, a conscious lifestyle magazine is a trailblazer sharing inspiring means of conscious living with the world. Her story of change was profound. She turned inward to heal when she realized the external world was not feeding her soul.
Removing external layers, masks and stepping into her own purpose, Derneeka’s path became one which was awake and conscious, rather than asleep and numbing in order to live in society. She chose to share her truth with others in an extremely powerful, inspiring way via her work.
Alissa Bilfield and her husband, Adam Aronovitz are shining examples of the powerful transformation of yoga.
They are changing the world, and yoga very much shapes their life and path, at times allowing the impossible to become possible. Practitioners of asana and vipassana meditation for years, after finishing one of many 10 day vipassana retreats, Alissa and Adam walked out as empty vessels ready to be filled with new, brilliant ideas.
It was then that they conceptualized a beautiful co-creation to help heal the world through food education around the globe with their NGO The Cookbook Project which is continues to grow and inspire millions around the world.
Another brilliant soul very much living the Yoga Love Story is Sylvia Daun.
Working an ordinary management job in London, life had lost its luster and she felt dead inside—until she discovered yoga. Almost immediately she fell in love with the yoga practice, and it became a part of her. She could no longer carry on in her rat race management job.
With a foundation and strength from her yoga practice Sylvia was able to follow her inner truth, overcome fears and move forward with awareness. She knew her only way was to create a life which inspired her and those around her, thus she developed KISMET-Yogastyle, a conscious, sustainable line of yoga wear, based on inspiration from those she met during her yoga travels.
These stories may sound magical. That is because they are.
Magic is within us all, and yoga is one way for us to uncover it.
We have the ability to tap into our inner truth—love waiting to be unleashed upon the world. If you have begun to practice yoga, you have a glimpse of your potential. If you are a practitioner, you know precisely what I am talking about, and are no doubt allowing the love and magic to manifest in your life.
I am living proof that not only is the Yoga Love Story real, but it can and will show you the most incredible life you have ever dreamed. You will find you. You will find love. You will discover God, whatever that means for you.
Yoga will help you discover what life means to you and what your purpose is on this earth. You will know your truth, be able to speak your truth, live your truth and create your dreams.
“Yoga,” while it may be practiced in a particular way by many, is as simple as inward study and self-awareness. It may manifest for you as dance. Yoga may mean that you breathe, or develop a practice of breath work. Yoga comes in many shapes and sizes, just as we as humans do. Discover what yoga means for you, what your tool of self-discovery is in this world, for there is not one way. That is what makes our world so brilliant and beautiful!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Emily Bartran