Some people are like a pile of dry sticks, and it doesn’t take much to light them up – Meghan Currie, on yoga
Six months ago I was just waking from a period of depression when I found the Yoga With Adriene website and committed myself to the free 30 Days of Yoga series. I’ve come to understand the last six months as a birth and an ignition of sorts; a turning point at a 90 degree angle.
One of the beautiful joys of my yoga is that the benefits I feel now are the same as the benefits I began writing about within my first couple of weeks of practice, only today they run a little deeper. Like a fast-acting magic, yoga got under my skin and into my life fabric, inviting a quiet and honest observation and inquiry into my experiences, feelings, thoughts, and actions. The honesty of which is (obviously) highly necessary for transformation and perfectly built into the practice of asana – you can’t lie in tree or crow, you can’t pretend to be someone or something you’re not. Balance poses force you to meet yourself exactly where you are (an oft-noted truth by my online teacher), and this practice teaches me to meet myself where I am in all aspects of my life.
The beauty and magic in my physical practice encouraged me to seek the keys to living a yogic lifestyle from top to bottom. I very quickly became curious about the philosophy of yoga and the lifestyle beyond the asanas and the mat, beyond my safe yoga space, my journal and my candle. I started by reading The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar and Jeff Krasno’s Wanderlust. These two books introduced yogic philosophy from two different perspectives, allowing me to find a route that serves my needs and intentions best. After digesting these two books I bought a copy of Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews and Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes. Together, these books help me to understand how to take care of my physical and emotional self responsibly and effectively.
I can see, as I write this, that it all sounds a little self-indulgent; taking the time to focus on myself in a world full of bigger problems. The effects of this however, are not mine alone. Another beautiful aspect of my practice is the effect my transformation has on the world around me, including my personal and professional relations and relationships, my desire to help people, animals, and the planet, and my commitment to being the change I want to see in the world. I believe that this daily, perhaps self-indulgent ritual of sitting, breathing, feeling, and listening has forged a calm and capable space within me, and by returning to this space every day I seem to have worn a path in the grass that cuts through my anxieties and emotions, allowing me to return more easily in times of emotional disruption. This is not to say that I don’t continue to acknowledge my anxiety-driven thoughts and behaviours, my temper, but my work load has become lighter. I no longer see an entire cloud-covered mountain when I look forward to the work of becoming my best and healthiest self. I am moving up the mountain now, maybe sitting at Base Camp One.
The last aspect of positive change I want to acknowledge in the last six months is the joy and love to be had in sharing this practice with others. I started this journey alone and while it continues to be personal and introspective, I have had a couple of people join me along the way, bringing new life, light, and love into the entire experience. People to talk to, share with, and enjoy the challenges and victories of the practice with. One of these people is Mr. Wonderful, who took up a daily practice when he was staying in a hotel for a week for work, and practiced on his own for about month before we practiced together. This has been truly wonderful. While we both maintain a solo practice in the mornings before our respective work days, we spend many afternoons and evenings practicing together. There is something awesome and deep about sharing the breath, energy, and movement of my practice with this person that I love and care for. It is a new level of consciousness to share between us that is just very special. This, as well as talking to other people I love about their yoga experiences, has been heart warming and intoxicating.
Finally, in the spirit of continuity and progress, a personal inventory after six months of yoga:
- calm, spacious, ready, capable, organized, free
- strong, flexible, capable, adaptable, supportive, beautiful
- light, worthy, connected, grounded, open, available, grateful