ow I Found Yoga –
I guess you’d say I’m a yoga evangelist, now, but it wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when I didn’t know much about yoga. My life was humming along, nicely. I worked as a busy software executive with 3 kids and a husband.
And then over a couple of months I started to notice that I was feeling “off.” I was achy, weak, exhausted all the time.
I’d broken a few bones earlier too: my knee, my foot, my hip and shattered my wrist, all from minor falls. My doctor decided something was wrong.
After months of tests, it turned out that I had advanced Celiac disease*. And this disease had been quietly wreaking havoc on my body for years. Now I was really sick.
In the following months of my recovery, I felt achy, stiff and blue. It seemed like my body had betrayed me. And since I couldn’t eat gluten – I couldn’t even find solace in doughnuts or beer. I wanted relief and I wanted to wage peace with my body. So I decided to try yoga.
I found a hot yoga studio in my neighborhood. And decided to try a heated Power II Class. It’s Yoga.. how hard could it be? Yeah… well… I found out.
From the parking lot I could see that the windows were already fogged and dripping with hot steam. I checked in and the teacher led me to the studio door. I walked into the sauna-like hot room and found it jam-packed with glistening yogis. I timidly placed my mat in the last available open space which was practically touching my neighbor’s mat. The yogi blinked his eyes open from his cross-legged bliss gaze and shot me a forced, irritated smile. Dramatically, he slid his mat to the right to make a bigger space for mine. And while his words said, “uhhmmm …no problem” his vibe told me that he was not at all cool with relinquishing the zen beachhead he’d established.
The class began and dizzying, electronic dance music pounded out a maniacal beat. The teacher led us through pose after pose, chataranga after chataranga. About 45 minutes into the class I accepted that I’d become a hot mess and laid like a quivering child on my mat in a puddle of sweat …that I only hoped…was my own.
The next morning when I returned to my office I had to take all my calls through my speaker phone, because even a day later, my arms still shook so badly I couldn’t hold the receiver up to my ear.
But I stuck with it. I tried different styles of yoga, different studios. I worked to become comfortable with my discomfort.
My yoga practice wasn’t pretty, either. In classes, I was awkward, wobbly and totally unsure of where my body parts were in space. I’d do a flow of poses (Vinyasa) and feel like, “Oh yeah girl – that’s right, you nailed that one” only to realize I’d done the whole thing facing the wrong direction. Self-acceptance. I learned that this, too, is part of yoga.
Soon I could feel small changes happening in my body. Weirdly, I felt taller. My legs became more powerful. My skinny arms, had developed muscles. I felt steadier in poses. I discovered that I was bendy in new places. And before I knew it… my body felt like it was mine again. I felt peaceful, light, care-free, pain-free and strong.
And this feeling of full body-joy, stuck with me. I began to practice yoga almost every day and I felt like a rock star (probably better than a rock star, actually – let’s be honest.)
Its been more than a decade now, since that first class. And yoga has continued to bring such peace and resilience to me that I want everyone to know about its magic… and so I became a yoga teacher and I guess a yoga evangelist, too?? Can I get an amen!?
I also own the earth-friendly, kind-hearted yoga clothing company, Inner Waves Organics with my husband! You can find Inner Waves Clothing in more than 200 yoga studios and eco-shops worldwide. Check out our site: www.innerwaves.org
Looking forward to seeing you in class!
*Celiac is an autoimmune condition in which a person cannot process gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley.