Im not in the ‘get skinny’ business. Nor did I start practicing yoga to lose weight, if I had, I’d be a size 2.
I began my practice at first, because I felt as though I had gotten lost. My moral compass and energy felt chaotic and I was beginning to spiral out of control. At the time I didn’t know what anxiety really was, but it had taken hold of me and I was suppressing it with alcohol.
At the time, I remember I was searching for the air I used to know. The clean fresh air that had a distinct flavor which would charge every cell in my body. I didn’t know how to describe it at the time, but I knew it when I felt it. For those moments, I caught a glimpse of myself trying to reemerge. My own duality of the self, realized. I wasn’t terribly proud of either version of me on their own, but I was trying to reconcile each side into a framework of a person I felt I was becoming-someone I felt I could be proud of, who lived with integrity.
Yoga had been on the outskirts, strumming this chord inside of me, beckoning to that previous version of myself. I would observe this pattern, as though I was a feral cat, and yoga a place of solace, circling me trying to lead me home. I was afraid of what yoga would show me and for a couple years, I just let it circle the perimeter.
In retrospect, I know why I was so hesitant to approach yoga. It was going to tear me open in a way I would least expect it! It was going to expose the underbelly of myself and show me how I was regularly lying to myself, hurting myself and not listening to my own set of truths. I just wasn’t ready to hear all of that at the age of 21 or 22. But at 23 when a series of events uprooted my entire life, I fell into yoga’s arms; much like many desperate people fall into religion. I was naked and terrified and out of options.
There are times I hate my practice, I cry or avoid it. I sometimes get mad at yoga-as though it had offended me. And yet, yoga lovingly continues to point out my own silliness. How I can get in my own way and when I’m being a hypocrite. It shows me how to honor myself and others without being rash or presumptive. It gives my soul a sanctuary to thrive.
Yesterday, as I was leaving the store I caught the air that first drew me toward my practice. My body felt its charge and was completely awake and aware. Each time it finds me I picture the orchard where I grew up. I can hear the wind blowing through the evergreens to the west. Their song so distinct and intense; yet soothing. In these moments everything stops. The wind speaks to me and I must pay attention to understand its message. Its those moments where I am reminded of my ‘True North’. The inner compass of my soul speaks to me and time slows down. If I didn’t want to drink in the air so badly, I would probably hold my breath, but I want to experience the wind from all sides.
I, by no means, judge or condemn those who practice yoga for the physical benefits, but I knew long ago-physical yoga wasn’t what I was looking for. I needed to rediscover something within myself that I had been overlooking. Stop allowing other people to dictate my True North for me and listen to the person I had been smothering within myself.