My favorite yoga class was cancelled a few weeks ago, so after boycotting the new class that replaced it for a while (a silent protest that hurt no one but me), I decided it was time to try the new teacher. After all, it wasn’t his fault the other class was cancelled, that class time really works in my schedule, and, after a summer of skipping a lot of yoga, I really needed to work out!
So I begrudgingly dragged myself into the yoga studio and got ready to hate it. Four seconds into class, my Ujjayi (yoga) breathing kicked in, my blood pressure dropped, I started smiling, and I realized how ridiculous I’d been acting. The practice of yoga can do this for almost anything in my life if I allow it (key words there being “if I allow it”).
See, I take my practice very seriously, because yoga saved me. I began practicing six years ago when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after my third child. I credit yoga (and pharmaceuticals) with helping me recover. I weaned off the drugs in about eight months, but the yoga, I kept. The studio was a safe haven when my marriage fell apart. The only thing I could control in my life was my breath. And that is the essence of yoga: Even if you don’t do a single pose, the practice of steady breath is yoga. It also taught me how to meditate, another saving grace and safe place for me. I try to use the tenets of yoga in my daily interactions and decisions. There’s a saying in yoga, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
Yoga came into my life when I needed it the most. SO DON’T MESS WITH MY YOGA! (That ALL CAPS outburst is why yoga is called a “practice.” I will clearly never master it—no one really does—so we keep practicing.) Cancelling my favorite class was a huge disappointment, but breathing in down-dog in the new class showed me it was really no big deal.
We have another saying in yoga: “Each pose prepares you for the next.” I have repeated this to my kids, women I mentor, and myself countless times. It is always true. Always. Every event that occurs in my life is preparing me for the next one. Every disappointment is a lesson, each failure an opportunity to grow. Even if I think my new class is too short, too hot, or uses strange music, I know this new yoga teacher has appeared in my life to teach me something if I am open to learning. I am.