During an interview with a Yoga instructor for our Greece tours, I was asked what my yoga journey was? This began a train of thought, and I couldn’t quite verbalize at the time what Yoga meant to me. So I wanted to dedicate this blog to honor my story and to share with anyone who may be considering taking up a few minutes of Yoga each day.
I was introduced to yoga years ago. I signed up for a series of hot Yoga classes with a friend. It felt great, but in a working out, gets you hot and sweaty kind of way. Let me back up here and tell you that I have never been a workout person. I tried. I would encourage myself to run with the calories I would burn, but it felt like work, every time. It was never enough motivation to start a consistent routine. The hot yoga class once a week felt good and encouraged me to eat healthier, but I didn’t feel connected to the practice. It still felt like an obligation, a workout to tone my body, with the motivation of my Yoga buddy and usually with the promise of fro yo following class. When my time ran out there I didn’t renew, and then life continued to happen.
Four years later, I’m married to a wonderful guy who I met in flight attendant training, and we travel the world professionally. I coordinate tours every year and Angel is a flight attendant. Exploring the world is our passion and our therapy! Last year, just before Christmas, our lives were flipped upside down when we discovered we were pregnant. That Christmas was magical. We announced the news to happy grandparents and spent the winter celebrating the new life we had created. We started adjusting to how it was changing our little family. I took up group meditation each week, where I enjoyed a sense of peace and calm. All decisions were focused and centered around our little embryo. We decided to move from Dallas to Tucson, where we would be closer to my in-laws. We placed a deposit down on a rental house in Tucson, just between Confidence Blvd and Trust Way.
But after 3 reschedulings by my doctor, at 10 weeks there was still no heartbeat. Our little one had actually stopped developing at 6 weeks. She would never get the opportunity to beat her heart. Letting go of the hopes, dreams, and expectations we created together will be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. Angel described our situation in the following words: It’s like we were headed down a certain clear path, and now we are at this crossroad, stopped in our tracks, looking at each other trying to decide what to do next. Perhaps what hurts the most is losing a piece of us, a little girl I only got to hold in a dream, who I imagined dancing around my uterus, someone who I miss so much without ever having met. I didn’t realize that feeling like this was possible.
I continued with meditation, and when we moved to Tucson, I started taking a Yoga class at the gym each week. I got out of the house, and out of my head for a while. Amy’s class was really fun, sometimes silly, and enjoyable. I invited Angel along, and we started going together. Never being “sports people”, we finally found an exercise that we felt we could do every day -and enjoy it. We wanted to practice more than once weekly, so we attended another class with a new yoga instructor. When she critiqued our joined tree pose and scolded us in front of the class for touching each other, I had no interest in returning. I was doing Yoga for myself, and my practice could entail touching my husband if I want to! There was certainly no need to shame us for doing a different variation. It was about this time that we discovered Yoga with Adriene after my friend Alicia casually mentioned the YouTube star over a phone call. Old faithful, constant, silly, supportive, non-judgemental, no matter the location, or what you’re wearing, or if you want to be social or not, Adriene. We started with 7-minute practices, which led to 10-minute practices, what are now 20-30 minutes of daily practice.
Adriene challenged me to be more generous with my breath and to be more loving with my thoughts. I became strong enough to do a plank, and hold it! I began challenging myself to be as present as I can possibly be. I learned to be still, to take up space and to find what feels good. I found the pleasure of massaging my glutes and my own back. Adriene taught me some of my favorite yoga poses: star, airplane arms, frog, drunk cat-cow (makes my back feel so good), thread the needle, tree (sometimes with intertwined branches), all the warrior poses and oh, how I love child’s pose. I started to sit with myself, my thoughts and my feelings, to embrace whatever I was feeling when I stepped onto the mat, and to surrender it all. With my hands thrown down in child’s pose or with the entire earth supporting me from behind, I started to let go and heal. This is how I escaped the weight and darkness of depression.
“So often we tend to the other parts of the body, but we forget to tend to the heart and spirit,” Adriene emphasized during her TRUE 30 Day Challenge. I found a new love for myself through my yoga practice. This practice, this time, this gift I give myself by showing up on the mat, is an act of self-love, an exploration, and each one a different experience to enjoy.
This is my Yoga journey- at least, thus far.