Four years ago, yoga found me.
I say this because I wasn’t seeking it out—at least, I didn’t know I was. I just wanted a way to lose weight and impress my husband with some acrobatic tricks (I have yet to do this, in case you’re wondering).
I had zero intentions of embarking on a journey towards enlightenment of any sort—especially one that involved a Hindu spiritual practice, thousands of years old—but after just a few classes, I was amazed at yoga’s transformative powers.
This is no ordinary exercise routine.
What I really noticed was that yoga was constantly changing—or at least my perception of it was different each time. One afternoon, as I found myself flat on the floor in savasana, I swear I actually experienced some kind of divine energy coursing through my body. I had honest to goodness mystical visions that day, and I’d definitely never felt something like that before. Yet other evenings, I’d leave class feeling like all I’d had was a good workout. Some days yoga makes me insecure and miserable, while other times it fills me with energy and gratitude.
I realized that, for me, yoga was ultimately about finding balance and being present. It was about accepting change, and accepting that the practice was going to be different for me every single time—and embracing that for better or worse.
Yoga is a noun, a verb and a place. It’s both kinetic and still. I love yoga because of its versatility and the way it is able to fill so many of the spaces in my life.
Here are just 25 of the many things yoga is to me:
- A supportive community of like-minded, really cool people who are all beautiful and who definitely seem to have their acts together.
- A group of completely broken, totally dysfunctional, clueless idiots who are just trying to do the best they can.
- A safe place to unabashedly suck at something.
- Somewhere I can confront my fears of looking stupid, of not being good enough and of failure—and doing it anyway.
- That place I just keep showing up to no matter what.
- Somewhere to hang out with my friends.
- A space to be alone with my thoughts.
- Sometimes it’s a place to save the world, and sometimes it’s a place to simply clean out my closet.
- It’s that place I go, before I go home and destroy an entire plate of loaded nachos.
- A break from being a mother, wife, friend, volunteer, employee and every other role I play on a daily basis.
- My reason for leaving the house on the days when I feel like I can’t get out of bed.
- A practice, a discipline, an art and a meditation of movement.
- Complete B.S. When is this class over?
- Cardio and core-strengthening.
- Peace, creativity, mindfulness and self-actualization.
- Being graceful, fluid, strong and empowered.
- Lying on the floor crying and trying to accept my physical limitations, but at least we’re listening to really good music.
- Somewhere to take a shower where my kid won’t bother me.
- A power tool for manifesting.
- An internal tantrum, while standing on one leg, trying desperately to cup my heels with my hands (which is just not working right now), praying that the hot guy across the room doesn’t look at me, because this is so embarrassing and I am about to fall down.
- The epitome of physical pleasure and an expression of joy.
- Hot, sweaty hell—and I’m pretty sure I smell terrible.
- What I was doing when I finally felt my heart crack open, and it was like a flock of ragged pigeons flew out of me and away forever, and I was glad to let them go once and for all.
- Hard work.
- A gift that I give myself.
Author: Victoria Fedden
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Matthew Ragan