Have you ever had the feeling that you’re moving through your life in a labyrinthine way? You start, turn left, hit a roadblock. Turn around, go right, and another obstacle. I’ve been there. Sometimes I find myself there again. After ten years, though, I have the tools mostly in place to advance to the obstacle, and even when I find it impedes my journey, I can move through it, sometimes around it, deftly, taking the time, breath, and concentration to overcome and emerge a little stronger, steadier, and softer for the experience.
My journey into a yoga practice was the result of a tumultuous year, a sudden loss, and an ugly reaction. A habitual perfectionist and relentless overachiever, I finally collided with some health issues which resulted in acute anxiety and depression and I spiralled. My emotions had always run a little strong up until this point, but this pushed me past the edge and off the cliff. Finally, a friend dragged me to a yoga class, where I found myself feeling deeply out of place, resentful of the heat, and generally confused by what the instructor was asking me to do.
So I went back the next day. And the following. By day four I could barely walk up the stairs. This was when I knew I had something. For me, the entry into yoga was the escape out of my own head. I can’t honestly say that the first month, year, or five years healed me. It tooks a lot of time and many, many stumbles. However, as I grew, evolved, and changed, I noticed that I started to soften into myself while getting a little stronger at the same time. It was and has been a messy process set against the backdrop of a beautiful process, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Whereas I used to look at choices, events, and outcomes as “right” or “wrong”, I’ve come to realize that the path is still the path, and what we make of it–whether it’s how we see it, how we react to it, or how we judge it–is part of the journey. This is where the learning happens; this is where the magic happens; this is where the evolution happens. The real work is to slow down, let it sink in without reacting to it, and making sure we take deep, meaningful breaths throughout it.
As soon as we step onto our mats, we step into our beauty, our power, our grace. This is the joy of yoga. This is the magic that deepens itself into our bones, softening and steadying us breath by breath, day by day, moment by moment.