17 Years of Yoga

17 years ago, I overhead a friend of mine talking about a yoga class that our spin gym was offering. So that Saturday at 11am, I showed up for yoga. At this point I had take some classes here and there, but never stuck with it. There was something about Michelle's class and ashtanga that made me feel good - like I never had before. I knew I was hooked when 3 weeks later, while my grandfather was in the hospital I would excuse myself on Saturday around 10:40am to make that 11am class, it was the only thing that made sense to me as I watched my grandfather's life come to an end. For 3 years, I was a dedicated Ashtangi - 6 days a week practice and unrolling my mat wherever I went - from practicing on a cruise ship while pulling into Rio's port to Jivamukti's Mysore practice in NYC to  taking a 45 minute bus ride to the one Ashtanga studio in Toronto. I was dedicated. My practice grew and I began to shed things/thoughts/habits that were not in service to me. At the beginning, I only knew that I felt better about myself when I practiced. I felt strong from the inside. I felt calmer. It was all sort of magical, even if I spent the entire class in tears. 

Throughout the years, there have been times when I practiced more and times when I rarely practiced; however, I always found myself back on the mat. How I practice has changed throughout the years and depending upon the day or week I am having, the intensity of what I do varies. 

I am grateful to my teachers - there have been many - who have shared their wisdom; passed on the lessons they learned from their teachers; and who are willing to dedicate their time to teach. I am grateful to yoga because it has helped me recover from anorexia; gotten me through the death of my grandparents and brother; helped me find a moment of calm in the midst of chaos. But most importantly, my practice which consists of prayer, meditation, pranyama and asana, has helped me discover my truth. Because of yoga and the many people I have meant whether they be a teacher or a fellow student, I have learned more about myself then I did in therapy. I have learned my strengths, my weakness, when to push to my edge or when to sit back in child's pose. More importantly, I have learned to love myself.  It has been a journey that is only just beginning.