The weekend of September 20, 2014 was the start of my yoga journey. It was almost like the first day of school. A new messenger bag filled with books, a journal, highlighters and pens. I thought I was there to study yoga (asana) and the origin of yoga.
The day started with an hour and a half power vinyasa flow. That was the easiest part of the day. Following practice, we touched on the 8-Limb path. Then we were told to journal. This is where I got stuck, what was I supposed to journal? So, I journaled what was in my head…
“Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known
Can’t live for tomorrow, Tomorrow’s much to long
I’ll burn my eyes out
Before I get out…”
Yes, the lyrics to Smashing Pumpkins “Today”. Reflecting back, it was one of the greatest days in my life. Had I only known it was the beginning of a lifetime journey.
By the end of weekend one I was exhausted. I had never been so open and vulnerable in a room with people who would become a part of my life. I recall at one point looking over at my best friend of 20 years and thinking what in the hell did I sign up for? The question then became why was I here? The true reason, I was stuck. I lived a very comfortable lifestyle, one most would dream about, at least from what it looked like on the outside. I had what seemed to be the perfect family portrait. The quaint house, complete with amazing kids, the giant dog and the cute Persian kitty, the fancy car, a husband who could provide all of the material comforts I desired. The inside told an entirely different story.
The first night of regular class I was asked one question that changed who I thought I was, and opened up who I am. Prior to being asked this question on this night, I would have responded; I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend, the typical stuff. Then there were rules/guidelines on how to answer this seemingly simple question. This was when I began to know the raw, unedited, unabridged version of me. This was the beginning of me becoming unstuck. Bit by bit and piece by piece, who I was and who I am, began to unravel.
One of the most defining moments of my life was the night my father had to leave for Operation Restore Hope, Battle of Mogadishu. One night, one moment in time, played a huge role in how I would shape and define the next few (21) years of my life.
Week after week I was challenged, not only in my practice but challenged in getting to know who I am at the depths of my core. I found myself struggling to get out of this life I was stuck in, not really feeling like I was living but existing. I came to understand and accept my fears, doubts and worries. I came to challenge them because I knew there was more to this life than just existing.
After years of allowing my ego to do most of the speaking, I realized I had another voice, the one where my heart does the talking. The fears that once hindered my existence are now the fuel to do the things my heart desires. My zest for living has been renewed. I learned the yoga way of life is much more than showing up on my mat, it’s living yoga on and off my mat. The journey did not end after 200 hours of yoga teacher training; it was only the beginning.