Sometimes in this beautiful life we live, something magical happens, a true awakening, a new addition to a lifestyle, something you crave, a new adventure – for me this is yoga and the lifestyle yoga encompasses.
I am not very coordinated, so my yoga journey started about 20 years ago. Before yoga I was a runner and loved the weights in the gym, two activities I felt confident doing. Activities done basically alone and very much at your own pace. Yoga is not that way. It’s a beautiful community, your tribe, your second family. This was very uncomfortable for me for a long time. For me yoga started with books and on line. I could learn poses in my home and feel comfortable, but this was not what yoga was about.
We moved from Atlanta Georgia to Laguna Niguel in the early 2000’s and we joined 24 hour fitness. They offered yoga classes and I watched through the glass doors for a very long time, at least a year. I was too intimidated to try a class even though I had been practicing at home for years.
Walking through those glass doors that first time was really scary. My spot was in the very back corner, right by the door, but I never used that door to leave early (well, only once!) I could not believe how comforting it was to be in a class setting doing yoga with so many like minded people. I didn’t realize at the time how beneficial this would be for me as my life started to unravel. It was a blessing having this practice and also blooming into meditation. Learning how to use yoga to alleviate my back pain because (as you know) I have severe scoliosis, and yoga helped grow my mental strength.
As my life started changing, and not in a way I would have ever imagined. My family suffered major health issues: a stroke, emergency quadruple bypass surgery, a hip replacement of my aging parents, children leaving for college, and a marriage that was in turmoil. All this in a two year time period. This was a time when nothing was the same. I became a caregiver, nurse and peace keeper. We started family counseling, nothing was working, except yoga and meditation. This became my only constant, my only way to escape the chaos. I did not miss a day, even if it was in the comfort of my closet. I read the book, The Pure Heart of Yoga, probably 3 times. As my marriage was dissolving and my father was in the process of passing, I was trying to keep it together. I don’t know if I would have survived, if I didn’t have the skills that yoga teaches.
Today is so beautiful! I am so grateful I survived the many years of turmoil and finally I am no longer in my abusive marriage. What yoga and meditation taught me is strength through focusing on the positive. The practice of yoga brings inner strength and peace. It brings confidence knowing you have control of your body, mind and spirit. Yoga, is truly a breathing practice. Once you are able to control your breath, I’ve then found it easy to find inner peace, which is something I did not possess until late in life. I feel so blessed I’m able to share my positivity, strength, and love for life with all who I am blessed with meeting.
Please enjoy these beautiful quotes about loving life:
“TRUE YOGA IS NOT ABOUT THE SHAPE OF YOUR BODY, BUT THE SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE. YOGA IS NOT TO BE PERFORMED; YOGA IS TO BE LIVED. YOGA DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN; YOGA CARES ABOUT THE PERSON YOU ARE BECOMING. YOGA IS DESIGNED FOR A VAST AND PROFOUND PURPOSE, AND FOR IT TO BE TRULY CALLED YOGA, ITS ESSENCE MUST BE EMBODIED.”
– Aadil Palkhivala
“CHANGE IS NOT ONLY INEVITABLE, BUT ALWAYS HAPPENING. WHEN YOU TRULY EMBRACE THIS CONCEPT OF CHANGE BEING CONSTANT, THE ONLY THING LEFT TO DO IS GROW, DETACH, VENTURE INWARDS, TOUCH THE SPIRIT AND FIND YOUR SOURCE — THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING YOU GROUNDED THROUGH THE EVER-CHANGING SEASONS OF LIFE.”
– Julie Weiland
“IT IS NOT ARROGANT OR EGOTISTICAL TO FEEL GOOD INSIDE. YOU HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. IT’S SIMPLY THE HONEST RESPONSE TO CLEARLY PERCEIVED REALITY.”
– Erich Schiffman
This quote above I read many times. I know feeling guilt is supposed to happen when you have done something wrong. I used to feel guilty when I was happy and proud of something I accomplished. I was conditioned to feel that way. I will never let another person steal my joy. If you are proud of something, own it! Yoga teaches this as inner peace, it’s a beautiful feeling.
Photos by: Paul Cook
Video by: @_studiosalty