Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yoga & Love: Why I Practice Yoga!

Recently, I posted the following on Writers on the Move as my workout "status" for the day:


Yoga felt really great this morning!! Really great!! My focus was on target, and I even felt some negativity I didn't even know I was holding inside drain away.... And I thought I'd already dealt with those hurt feelings!! Wow!!

I really didn't think much about it until Jackie Dishner, one of the other membersof the group, commented:

I've not experienced that kind of power yet. But I'd like to.

I responded:

You will, Jackie! This isn't my first experience with it. My first experience with it is kind of hard to put into words. It was incredibly powerful and changed my life or at least my perspective on life because it changed the way I viewed myself and also those around me. BUT, and this is important, it can't be forced. That power comes when you need it and you're ready for it and not a minute before. Just be patient with yourself and with your yoga practice!!

 
As I went about the rest of my day, my thoughts kept returning to my first experience with the power of yoga. I pushed it aside, but it kept interfering with my ability to write and to do my household chores. Finally, I realized I felt a little guilty about saying that my first experience with it was hard to put into words. That was a bit of a cop out.

Truth is I was being selfish. There I said it. I cherish that memory. I want to keep it to myself, so I can use it whenever I need it. I have a little fear it'll lose its magic if I share it with the world. There's also a little part of me that thinks people might think I'm a bit crazy if I tell the story. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized my experience might help someone. Who knows? Maybe my story will encourage someone to try yoga or to stick with yoga. Maybe the magic of that moment will even grow. As for crazy, well enough people already think that, so who really cares?

I don't remember exactly why I decided to try yoga. I'd struggled to find a workout I really enjoyed. I talked about that in another post, Writers on the Move Just May Change My Opinion of Workout Groups. When I first started practicing yoga, I liked how yoga made me feel physically even though I seriously struggled with the poses. I didn't buy into the whole "spiritual, emotional" aspect of it. To me, it was just another fitness routine.

So here I was a few months after I started practicing yoga, moving through my poses. They were going a little better than usual. I still wasn't flexible enough or strong enough to do many of the poses fully, but somehow that day they felt more fluid. I moved through them with a bit more ease. My body felt really good. I felt lighter than usual. I felt almost happy as I moved through the poses. I didn't really understand what was happening, but I liked it. Looking back I now realize it was probably the first time I worked through the routine and was really "in the moment" - not letting my mind drift to my task list, my problems, or meeting expectations.

I reached Savasana, aka Corpse Pose. I hated Savasana at that point in my life. I really hated it. I didn't understand how ending a workout by doing nothing could be beneficial. I didn't understand that being consciously and purposefully still could be as difficult and as rewarding, perhaps even more so, as being busy. I hated it so much I'd even skipped it a few times when I was pressed for time, but that day my routine was going so well I wanted to see it through.

So I moved into Savasana fighting the feelings of vulnerability it always triggered in me. Something about lying on the floor with my eyes closed, my arms stretched out to my sides, my neck elongated, my chest and stomach exposed, and my legs slightly open and relaxed made me feel very vulnerable. One more reason to not like Savasana.

I took a deep breath and followed the narrator's instructions. I closed my eyes. The narrator said something about giving myself to the Earth that I'd never particulary liked, but this time it didn't bother me so much. I felt my muscles relax. The feeling of lightness I'd had throughout the yoga routine linger.

Suddenly, a bolt of pure love hit my heart with so much intensity, my left arm and my left leg jerked up from the floor and returned to position. My body trembled. My muscles tingled. I felt love radiate out of my heart to meet love that blanketed me. It was the most honest love I'd ever experienced. I lay there just enjoying the sensation, just being in that moment, just feeling love and nothing else, just love. In that moment, the thought "I am made of pure love." flitted through my mind. I didn't argue with it. I allowed the idea to settle into my mind. I kind of liked it.

I'm not sure how long I lay there, but when I opened my eyes the video, Ali MacGraw - Yoga Mind & Body, had quit running and the television was a blank screen. I stood up, shook out my limbs, took a couple of sips of water, and walked into the bathroom. I looked in the mirror and saw tears on my face. I hadn't even felt tears start. I noticed a fresh one trail down my cheek as I stared at my face in the mirror. Something looked different, but I didn't know quite recognize it.

Something had changed. The pure love I'd experienced had healed something inside me. Or at least it had started me on the healing process. I saw things differently. I saw people differently. I realized that the healing I needed began and ended in the honest love I'd experienced while doing Savasana. It took me a while to truly embrace that and to learn how to incorporate it into my life as is typical of me. I slowly began to trust that if I allowed pure, honest love into my life, healing and happiness followed.

I've experienced the power of connecting with my emotions through yoga since then, but that first time was the most powerful. Over the years, I've opened myself to the moments when the focus and meditation of yoga lead me to breakthroughs or help me find balance when I feel out of balance. I've learned through yoga to be more in tune with my body physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It's amazing what treating one's body with respect, attention, intention, and love does to increase one's health and wellbeing in all aspects of life.

I appreciate, embrace, and revel in the power of yoga to help me on my journey to embrace the me I want to be, the me I truly am, and the life I want to share with others. I encourage you to experience it for yourself.

3 comments:

  1. That is exactly what I'm waiting for...sounds amazing. Someday I'll get there! I know it!!

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  2. It was amazing! And, yes, you will get there! Just be patient and let it come when the time is right!

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  3. Tammy, that was so beautifully written, revealing a vulnerable and beautiful soul. Love you, Aunt Betty

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