Yoga found me when I was nineteen years old. Back then, I didn’t know it was called yoga.
My first class was anything but graceful. I sat by the door for an easy escape. Class started with a sitting meditation, yet I could not stop thinking. “What is wrong with me?” I thought, “just relax.”
Next, was a warmup. “How could this be so hard?” Then, up to our feet, forward bend, down…I lost the instructor. When I looked up, they were all down on the ground looking up toward the sky in some posture. “How did they get there so quickly? Before that day, I had no idea how it felt to come to your yoga mat and process so much by moving with your breath, by yoking to your breath.
Lastly, we laid in corpse pose. “Why would they name this corpse pose?” I thought, as I was suppose to let my thoughts drift by like clouds in the sky. My thoughts were not drifting by: they were stuck, whirling and swirling in my head.
I stumbled through class, then came the OM. The OM was so centering. I had not made an escape, I had just completed my very first asana practice! Something drew me back to those yoga classes. I was gaining control both inwardly and outwardly. I was becoming more fully me and feeling good in my own skin. I was listening to my body.
Those classes helped me, back when I was nineteen. They gave me space to be with myself, to be fully present and connected. They helped me love myself. They got me out of my head and into my heart. They helped me love my body. Ultimately, yoga helped me find balance. And yoga continues to help me find balance.