My Story - Yoga
“The change you see on the outside comes from within.” - Chioma
Like most, I thought yoga was only about stretching. More than that, I thought yoga was boring. Outside of my corporate life (I'm an accountant), I was an athlete drunk from the liquor of external stimuli such as challenges and competition.
When it wasn’t about the challenges and competition, it was about the adventure. Drive to the Canadian border to participate in a 250 mile running relay with an opportunity to run in the dark? Sign me up! Bike for 180 miles around the Galveston Bay? Let’s do it! Travel to LA to participate in a marathon? I’ve never been to Hollywood so when is the next flight? You can’t do that with yoga…or can you?
I got introduced to yoga in 2004. My first class was in a Bikram studio, and I had no idea what I was doing. However, I continued to practice whenever I received an invite from friends, which meant that my appearances in the studio were sporadic. While I enjoyed the classes (my body felt amazing after each class) I still found the practice to be...boring. My opinion of yoga changed in 2009, however.
I lived in New York City and was walking home, along the Henry Hudson Parkway, when I saw a group of yogis practicing outdoors. They were creating beautiful shapes with their bodies by balancing on their arms and heads, which was something I had never seen in my past studio experiences. They also were moving in a way that looked like a dance, adding breath to each movement. Was this really yoga? Yoga outdoors? I was intrigued. I walked to the group, put my purse down, and joined them without a mat in my hand or the proper attire.
That session left me feeling alive! I was able to find peace and tranquility within the noise of the city. I tuned into myself. I used my body to pick myself up, literally. And while that session was challenging, I did not feel the need to compete. That day, I put the liquor of external stimuli away and learned that the physical practice of yoga is not boring.
Yoga met me where I was at and not the other way around. I wasn’t forced to conform to a time slot or clothing type. I wasn’t restricted to a specific environment. I wasn’t compared to another individual and that person’s ability to put their leg behind their head. I was able to be me and, as a result, was able to accept me for me.
Similar to the results of my other athletic pursuits, I felt myself getting stronger. For example, I am able to do a proper plank pose for over 60 seconds! My productivity in my personal and professional life also increased. I gained a lot of energy and was less reactive to stressful situations.
Unlike my other athletic pursuits, I gained a natural acceptance of my body, and my confidence sky rocketed! I stopped comparing myself to others and started making better choices for myself. I started to believe I was good enough and worthy.
As for adventure, yoga can accommodate for that. Yoga has taken me to El Salvador, Taiwan, and Indonesia. I have also attended retreats and workshops nationally in Texas, California, New York, Boston, and Ohio. Yoga has been weaved into a wine and cheese tastings and art shows. Mimosas have been handed out after a Sunday morning practice. I got sweaty dressed as Wonder Woman with other costumed yogis.
Yoga has opened my eyes to so much. I have made life long friends in different parts of the world because of yoga. Imagine what yoga can open your eyes to!