I’ve done it all- HIIT, Hip Hop Abs, Zumba, distance running, spin, but it’s only in yoga, on my mat that I’ve exorcized some of these deep-seated demons that whisper to me late at night.
When the junk is oozing like sticky tar out of its deep hidey-hole, I take it to the mat. I breathe, and I move, burning away the tar, the lies my ego tells me are right, the coping mechanisms that no longer work. I stretch, and I breathe, and I find more space. And in that space where the tar once lived, in the space that was hidden among sinew and bone, I receive Grace — healing my heart, my soul, my body and mind.
And all of the disparate pieces of who I really am all come together.
That’s what happens when I take it to the mat.
In my sweetly scented neighborhood studio, my teachers have instructed me to breathe and let go. Yoga releases the yearnings that accompany my secret scars, my deeply buried grief from decade-old heartbreaks. After 16 months of regular practice, the imprisoned junk that in my body and mind has finally been granted clemency.
Sound good to you? Check it out. A lot of studios have community classes that are either free or very reduced rates. When you go, listen to your teachers, and listen to your body. If the teacher is asking you to do something and your body says, ‘Nope, not today.’ It’s ok. You don’t have to. Listen for the modifications, use the props, don’t be a freakin’ hero. If it’s your first time, you aren’t going to be nailing the wheel pose or forearm stands. Did I mention that it’s ok? If you’re worried about the woo-woo metaphysical stuff, don’t. When they close the practice with “Namaste”, they mean “the Divine in me honors the Divine in you.”
Don’t worry about not looking like everyone else. Everyone’s body is different. My practice looks nothing like Instagram with tiny bendy people in exotic locals. Yours may, but probably not. My practice is real. Just like me.