Six years ago, I was battling depression and a friend invited me to a yoga festival. The thought of spending an entire weekend contorting my body, surrounded by super lean women wearing expensive yoga attire was not my idea of healing. I told her, “no way.” And then she bought my festival pass.
There I was, at the festival of spandex, and the last place I wanted to be. At first, I felt a little out of place. The first class challenged me to be patient and present, mostly because I was trying not to fall, fart, or leave the class altogether. I tried a few other classes, and finally, I found something that I didn’t even realize I was looking for: a teacher who spoke to the inner core of my being. He reminded me to honor my warrior spirit by having a strong spine and a soft heart filled with joy. In that one class, I was gently guided back to the part of me that knew I would be OK. After that one class, I felt free.
I had such strong judgements about yoga that were completely based on my own fabricated and perceived idea of what it was. My dislike for yoga stemmed from a part of me that felt I wasn’t good enough for it, or worthy of the healing I deserved. Actually, after that first class at the festival, maybe I would have given up on yoga. But my stubbornness was overridden by the fact that I had to partake in other classes. The more classes I took, the less judgment I had and the more open I became. I realized that there are so many types of yoga, and every teacher instructs differently. I had to find the style and wisdom that resonated with me.
By the last day of the festival, something within me shifted. I had energy for the first time in months. I felt uplifted and supported by a group of complete strangers. And I knew from that moment that yoga was going to be in my life forever. I experienced a deep sense of fulfillment and peace that was missing from my life.
Years later, as a Master Level teacher, I still experience days where I feel low and my energy is non-existent. But I have realized this is simply part of being human, and those dark, hopeless thoughts I used to have no longer have to control me. Yoga may not be everyone’s path of self-healing, but there is surely a unique path for everyone. Don’t give up. Seek to connect with your strong spine, soft heart, and open mind, and your path will reveal itself to you at the perfect time – even if you dislike it at first.