Before yoga I was angry, depressed and envious. “Everyone else has it so much better than me…” “My dad left when I was two…” I was lost in my victim story. Through a devoted practice of yoga I have come to forgive and heal. Now I take my time before responding. And when I am triggered into reactivity, I now sit with curiosity instead of guilt or shame.
It was in yoga class that I first learned the word Om. I practiced yoga because I wanted to be physically flexible and strong. Om appears throughout the ancient Indian texts as a symbol of the ultimate reality (Brahman). I soon learned Yoga is not only a practice of physicalness but also an ascetic philosophy aimed at revealing one’s ego. Yoga, Sanskrit Yug, means to yoke or unite and practicing it leads to a peaceful sensation of wholeness and connectedness. Yoga aims to transcend the egoic self – a mental construct identified with separation.
A regular yoga practice has taught me the meaning of showing up. There have been times when I’ve questioned the point of it all; days when my body has felt like a pile of bricks. Yet at the end of every practice I’ve felt gratitude and this is the feeling that keeps me coming back to my mat. Stay. Stay. Stay and breathe.
Staying goes against every natural instinct in my body. Sitting with discomfort – Ick! The minute I felt slightly uncomfortable in any situation, I was outta there. Yoga has taught me to sit with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that arise within my body without identifying them as me. I am not feelings. I am not my thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are experiences I enjoy as a living being.
Learning to be here now, fully present in my body, alive in my own physicalness has been life affirming and transformational. Realizing the source of love is within my own heart is liberating. What are you waiting for to set yourself free from limiting thoughts, reactive emotions, and behavior patterns that no longer serve to empower you?