There are still those countless people who believe that practicing yoga is an “exercise”. They believe that it’s only the movement of limbs and core to tone and tighten their body to appeal to someone else, who honestly, probably isn’t worth that effort. They tell themselves it’s an “easy” way to give physical effort it’s due and carry on with their regularly scheduled program. They think yoga is about the clothes, and the malas, and the Om, and the Zen, and the whatever bullshit they have floating around in that brain so full of misconceptions.
I was one of them, until it brought me back from the dead, opened my heart, and uncovered the Goddess buried inside of me under endless layers of pretense and shitty perceptions.
I taught myself with a DVD at home, craning my neck awkwardly towards the TV screen while I assumed the next asana. I felt ridiculous and incapable at first, but I kept going. In a few weeks I no longer needed to see every move, I knew what to do when I heard her speak. I began to flow from one asana to the next and my heart began to release, and my spirit to glow.
****Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion; A filling up.”
― Anne D. LeClaire
I felt like every morning began with a moving prayer to the Universe; one of gratitude. I was answered by the filling of my heart with peace, and my mind with power over myself. I became alive in a quiet, joyful way that began to clear my vision of all things ridiculous and unimportant. The frenzy of my world began to calm a little, smooth out here and there, my heart began to recognize moments of peace.
**The practice of yoga itself transforms. Yoga has a magical quality.”
― Ravi Ravindra
There is a magic to the practicing of yoga that defies anything but the word magic. It is miraculous in that it can release something beautiful and rare from a generic societal state of being. It is powerful in that it’s quietness brings a still heart screaming to life in living color. It is the equivalent of the calming of the storm in biblical times, or Lazarus rising from the dead.
It’s truth, I can say that, because it happened to me.
**“When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.” ― Donna Quesada
Practicing yoga brought me back to life by bringing me into the present. I learned to be and show gratitude now, for my blessings now. I began to regulate the past where it belonged, and look at the future as a present to be unwrapped when it arrived. I began to look at myself more gently, and with a sense of forgiveness, which allowed me to do the same towards others.
**“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. ~Michelangelo
I didn’t so much reinvent myself, as I began to excavate who I was from beneath a lifetime of expectations, criticisms, and societal rules. Not just those imposed on me by others all the way back to childhood, but those I imposed upon myself. I would uncover some unknown part of me and sit with myself in awe, learning to love it, or at least understand and accept what was. I began to see the beauty and purpose in even the flawed parts of me I would have normally hidden away from view. I had inadvertently fallen into a state of grace via 30 minutes of morning yoga.
**“Courage is often associated with aggression, but instead should be seen as a willingness to act from the heart.”
― Donna Quesada
I began living from my new heart, my new state of being, and it gave me joy and countless challenges. Apparently nobody likes the status quo messed with in any way. But no matter the discomfort suffered by those around me, I had to act and live in the knowledge of my newly awakened state, and although I rocked a few boats, I stayed on course. It’s frightening to step outside of all that you’re accustomed to and expand into more, but I am determined. The magic of all I’ve uncovered so far has made me more alive than ever before, given me the courage to speak and write and be as I feel I must, and to hell with the consequences.
I think of this every time I do a heart opening asana and feel the bands of bullshit release and set my heart and spirit free of fear.
**”Oh, that’s fear. Try the pose again.” Fear. I hadn’t even known it was there.”
― Claire Dederer
Welcome to the magic, to the miracle, to your heart, to the truth of who you are.
Welcome to Yoga.