BY: TRISHA CURLING
Some of the best things that have happened to me since deciding to incorporate yoga into my life are actually the development of what has happened off the mat. Yes, it’s incredible to feel stronger and have less tension and pain in my body, but the way in which I experience the other parts of my life has changed too. I didn’t even know that would happen, it kind of snuck up on me. I used to just look forward to going to class or practicing on my own at home. It was this way to escape everything else and spend blissful, stress-free time on my mat. My escape at the time was mostly from feeling the pain of the loss of my older brother. Something unexplainable happened one day where the feelings I had on the mat were the exact feelings I had off of it as well. I finally understood that if I chose to do more of what I loved, more than yoga, then this feeling was transferable and that it was also my yoga.
It wasn’t like a bright light burst through the clouds and washed over me or anything silly like that. It was like my inner thoughts and/or my intuition came to the forefront of my mind and told me that everything would be fine with the positive thoughts I choose through the course of each day. I became to understand that my yoga actually started with my daily affirmations. It started with living in gratitude. This happened before I started going to classes. At first, I wrote even when I didn’t believe that I could ever feel good and grateful again after such a catastrophic loss, but I did it anyway. It slowly started to turn around and I started to feel better. I noticed that I started to feel better. Writing, along with practicing made me feel this way more often.
I always enjoyed writing as a child, so it felt natural and comforting. It occurred to me that I was doing more of what I loved and those feelings of loss became fewer. I became more grateful for moments and opportunities like those. The time to write and to practice. The more grateful I became, the more opportunities presented themselves. This allowed me the courage and willingness to find time for more of what I love.
The small joys of things like cooking, listening to music, and working out all became my yoga too. I found the ability to stop and take more time to appreciate the small things so that when the challenges arise (as they do), there is a better perspective in which to approach them. It doesn’t mean that there is no more frustration, anger, or even sadness. It just means that I know with more truth and clarity, that everything will be fine at the end of it all.
My yoga became my life. Not practicing all day, but it became the thoughts I chose, it became how I chose to spend my time, doing more of what I love to do more often. Yoga teaches us to look within. It may look like just a bunch of crazy poses to some, but if we actually take the time to practice, look into ourselves, to take moments to quiet our minds and listen to what we truly need for our own happiness, we can find our yoga too. The beauty of it all is that our yoga is our own and does not look like anyone else’s. What is your yoga?