I have been a yoga teacher for three years now, but when people ask me when and how I started practicing yoga, I answer that it was almost 10 years ago. Of course, I understand what the question is really about. What they want to know is when I first started going on the mat and when I first started doing the asanas (the postures). But my answer goes deeper than that and contains the actual truth… I started practicing the moment I started taking charge of myself, of my emotions and of my state of mind.
That year when it all happened, had been quite hard. My boyfriend at the time suddenly found out that he would have a baby from a one night stand relationship. It was quite a shock for both of us. I felt like life had let me down again, because every time I had met someone, a man I could have seen myself with or for whom I had developed some feelings, something intervened and the relationship came to an end.
It seemed that I was unable to break free from this life pattern. I cried, and I tossed, and I turned.The disappointment caused by the failed relationship, mixed with my inability to let go and move on, made the whole break up a long, gruesome nightmare.
What started me on my journey towards myself was a hypnotherapy course. I had been interested in hypnotherapy for some time and I really wanted to learn more about it. A colleague from work who had studied hypnotherapy, had already given me some sessions, and I was absolutely fascinated by everything related to the subconscious mind. I felt called to enroll in the course not because I wanted to become a hypnotherapist, but because I felt like it could bring me closer to myself.
Soon enough, as I dived into the course, I realized that there was plenty to work on. I was closed off emotionally and I was living in fear. I was needy, clingy and suspicious. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. I had a tendency of putting people down any time they were not coming up to my “standards”. Not once, my expectations had come between me and my happiness, ruining beautiful moments and making everybody involved miserable (including myself).
A few months into the course (the whole course was one year long), I realized that something inside me had shifted. Until that moment, whenever my ex boyfriend was calling me or texting me, my heart would jump out of my chest, I would hurry to answer, I would impatiently wait for his reply, and so on…
But then, one day, as I was preparing to take a shower, my phone suddenly rang. I had received a message… I checked who the message was from. It was from him… And then I put the phone down and went to the bathroom.
Suddenly, I realized: I was calm. My heart was not jumping, I was not going crazy, I was not even in a hurry to reply… That was one of those amazing moments I would always remember fondly. It was as if, for a moment, I had stuck my head out from the pile of mud, had looked up at the blue sky and had taken a breath of fresh air…
Back then, these moments were precious. I was only a beginner on my self development and self discovery journey and the moments of peace were still outnumbered by the moments of confusion, despair and sadness. But yes, this is what happens in time, as you move deeper on the path: you start getting more and more good moments, and less and less bad ones.
It is not because life gets easier. It is rather because, as we become more aware of who we are, of our values, of our truth, we don’t get shattered by life as easily as before.
So that was when I started practicing yoga. It wasn’t the first time I went to a yoga class, it was when I took the first step towards myself. Because what is yoga? It is “the journey of the self, through the self, to the self”…