Yoga by Shan – Just come as you are
The only frame of reference I ever had about yoga was the 70’s song Escape (The Piña Colada Song). That is until 2006 when I stumbled into my first yoga class at a local gym.
Yoga is weird in the sense that people rarely wake up one day and think it’s time to start a yoga practice. Yoga will find you when you’re ready and not a moment earlier. If I had known that a yoga practice would peel back layers of my soul and all that was being stored in my heart over the years, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to embark on the practice. Fortunately, I went in without a need to know anything and an open mind.
I will never forget my first class… I walked in and the gray haired gentlemen who happened to be a Catholic priest in a weird outfit and bare feet greeted me and asked me to grab a mat and sit down. I knew he could tell I was new and I wanted direction immediately on what was going to happen next. He just smiled and said I would be just fine. I hadn’t painted my toes, so I was not about to take off my socks in a dark room full of people. So I proceeded to listen to this charming yet quirky mans guidance of how to move into poses with weird animal names. Much to my dismay, I quickly discovered why people take off their socks. My feet were slipping within them and I could hardly keep from falling as a result.
Somewhere in the midst of slipping within my socks, not having a clue what I was doing and feeling so self conscious, something magical happened. Simply said, I could breathe for the first time in ages! This was it… Yoga is what I had been searching for! Who cares about the poses, I just wanted to breathe again. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel my breath. For anyone who has ever become caught in the whirlwind of stress for any length of time, you know what I am talking about. I am not talking the involuntary shallow breath that we all have as a result of our heart beating. It’s so much more than that, I am talking about feeling your breath breathe you! This is the kind of breath that opens up your mind and casts away the distractions of needing to solve yet another problem; The kind of breath that allows you to forget the identity that society has imposed on you and the one you have imposed on yourself; The kind of breath that makes you realize everything is and will be okay; The kind of breath that makes you want to ask everyone in the room, “Was it just me, or did anyone else just notice that they have been holding their breath for the last few years?” If I had actually asked that question, the other students would have simply smiled a knowing smile.
I felt like a kid in a candy store albeit a healthy candy store, but I digress… I could not wait for the following Monday night to roll around. This was something I knew was going to change my life and I was ready… Or so I thought.
I continued to attend class every Monday night and for the first time in many years, I began to enjoy something that I could say was just for me. I was a busy mom raising 2 young kids while my husband worked long hours. I embraced being a mom so much that I had completely forgotten about me. Someone asked me what do you enjoy doing for fun? That was a turning point for me, because my answer was, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
This one hour a week was truly life changing. The breath and balance I felt on my mat every Monday night carried me through each upcoming week. I found what I was looking for and needing and this one hour a week made me smile again from a truly authentic place.
Interesting changes began to occur in my life however… Like an amazing therapist, yoga has a way of peeling back layers of our life and presenting them to us whether we want to see them or not. See, you cannot hide from yourself on your mat. This journey is different for everyone, but for me, the emotional stuff I was tucking away for when I had time to deal with it was not going stay tucked away anymore. As a result of being able to breathe again, I was beginning to feel again. That was not in the brochure and I wasn’t so sure I was happy with this new yoga chapter. I really just wanted to continue with the physical practice that made me feel great. What was with all this other stuff? Then I got it… I was finally awake again! That reality gave me the courage I needed to dig a little deeper into myself and seek healing for the parts of my soul that I had ignored for so long.
The next few years were a different kind of whirlwind. I was living purposefully and I began to discover who I was and what I wanted in my life. This whirlwind was not always easy… As a result of me being awake, I also woke up my marriage, my work life, my dreams and all close relationships. I was finally living in my truth, but that didn’t come without some painful pruning of what I had created in my life. The good news is, as long as we are living, this journey is not complete. The question to ask ourselves is, “Are we living?” or “Are we awake?”
Go ahead and stumble into that first yoga class… Oh and feel free to keep your socks on! Namasté
Check out more about Yoga by Shan in Rogers, MN
Yoga By Shan offers Core Yoga, Zen Yoga, Corporate Wellness, and Yoga for Seniors.