So it has been three years since I walked into the yoga studio and stood in my first Warrior Pose. I think back, and it feels long ago. Being over 50 when I began, I was not sure how it would go. I had stiff knees. neck and shoulder pain. I had difficulty straightening my legs. I was heavier than I had ever been, weighing almost 40 lbs. more than now. I was struggling with lethargy every morning. I was working my way through the loss of an elderly parent after being a caregiver for six years. I felt old age creeping in.
I was tempted by the thought of giving up on exercise or fitness because I was not sure I could do any different. I was not clear on how to change any of this. I was weighted down, just trying to get to the next day, pretty much a mess.
In reflection of that first year, It seems I figured out that I was still here for a purpose. With yoga, I lost some weight with continued practice. I found I could do yoga, sometimes with modified variations at first. I could move through the instruction and gradually felt like it was awakening. It helped me grieve. It helped me focus. It gave me some direction.
In the second year, I gained some strength that I had not had for a long time, in my body and in my spirit. I started to feel like myself again. I was drawn in, and wanted to simply be open and see what might unfold. I stayed with it, saw progress and only hoped I could continue. I had no idea if my body could improve and strengthen further, but it did. I kept going.
In this past year, I began to gain some confidence in the practice itself. I have gained back strength in my legs that I thought was gone forever. I have that tingle in my body that says it is awake and aware as I practice. I made a deeper commitment to myself and to others. I promised myself I would not give this up, this focus, this time, this place I went to internally and externally to become better on and off the mat.
Somehow in the daily practice, I have found that union of the body and the soul. I have found a lot of peace. I have found some confidence that was lost. I have found contentment. I have found laughter again. I have found faith and strength, and more hope and more love in my own heart to share with others.
Yoga, as a practice, has become transforming for me. It seems to continue to keep evolving toward the good. My balance, my fitness level, my focus and my health have all improved. I can say I am a better version of myself because of yoga. Yoga has allowed me to reinvigorate my body as well as calm to my soul. I know I am more present. I am a better friend, a better sister, a better wife, teacher, a better everything.
I am still aging, but I am more accepting of it. Perhaps that is what is meant by doing it gracefully. I know above everything, this progress is actually only of importance to me. I used to try to explain it to my non yoga friends. Sometimes even to my yoga friends. Somehow now, I realize it is my journey, my yoga has been the best thing I have ever done.