For the past year I have written up articles as it relates to experiences with yoga and I was reading over the various articles and then thought… would anyone even know me from these articles? Yoga is about returning to the self and yet I find that I am very protective of myself and sharing. I have my reasons though – like many – a lifetime of events, pain and regret have me picking those I am open with and share my true self with.
I often tell others that if you think you know me from my Twitter or Facebook you are mistaken. I don’t think this is wrong though as I have often felt that social tools are useful however can’t replace really knowing or meeting others.
I started meditation long before I practiced asana though. I was fortunate enough to be involved with a youth group growing up in my teens. We would meet, discuss life, feelings, frustrations and close with massage and meditation. I learned that through touch we can send energy to help each other heal. I also learned what it was like to sit, observe and often escape circumstances in the present moment.
You see I grew up in an an abusive alcoholic household. My parents would fight often and mostly all night long. If I wasn’t involved in my Mothers fights I would be in my room meditating to escape. Between the awful things said in this environment, being hit or protecting my siblings, and having police come in only to look at you with pity, I found a way to escape. I also knew that someday this would end and pass… and it did of course. I knew that the only thing I could control was my reaction in that moment.
I never mentioned my situation of my life at home to friends, outside of certain discussion groups though. Once I mentioned it to a close friend of mine in high school and I remember his reaction to this day. As many yogi’s believe we are all injured though and I don’t think that I’m the only person with this story. However I wanted to write about this to share as maybe someone else is having problems or can relate.
My sister and I often wonder how we turned out as we did. Why is it that some turn into exactly what they dislike and become violent (to themselves or others) and others use it as an example of what not to do or be?
If you believe in past lives I think that some are just born into this world just knowing. I certainly wasn’t told to do one or the other. My parents didn’t practice meditation, yoga and didn’t eat well. I believed then as I do now that our bodies are just a small part of who we are. I knew that deep down under there was my true self and soul that couldn’t be touched or harmed by any outside source or person.
Later I tried yoga. I started with a video and then went to an Iyengar class that I was was bored with from the start. I remember the instructor telling us how she was injured and how yoga helped her though. We then spent an entire class in mountain pose. I appreciate all this detail now, however to a beginner it was lost on me. Fast forward to a few years later when I was injured in a skydiving landing and had two broken vertebrae. Took a long time to heal. Bones heal fast but the muscles and emotional damage is still something I think you deal with a long time. Once off the back brace, pain medication and able to return to work I remember my body didn’t even know how to sit up, much less do a sit-up (crunch). I returned to yoga and Iyengar class and have been with it ever since. I have been fortunate enough to have studied with some amazing teachers. I have taken and studied many styles now of course. I’ve learned even more about meditation and watching the mind and its thoughts.
I turned to teaching yoga 4 years ago and wasn’t sure why I was lead to do it however with each direction I have taken it hasn’t been wrong. I stop, listen, make sure my ego isn’t involved, and just trust that the universe is telling me something. I take pride in teaching beginners as I remember the mindset of them and I love looking across the room to see a face and expression of joy. Not just in the position but in figuring themselves out – returning to their true self. That place that is without harm, judgment, and is full of love and compassion.