I didn’t know how to even begin to express what yoga has done for me. But I recently read somewhere, “silence speaks when words can’t,” and it reminded me of when I first started practicing yoga. I was taking classes at a studio where the room was always full. I felt lost in a sea of open hearts and tremendous clarity. None of us spoke to each other but still the bond between each of us was strong. It was so surreal. Being an anxious mess for quite a while I finally felt like I belonged in this group and apart of something huge in every yoga class I took. I liked blending in; and for once, I liked being in a crowd and moving in a rhythmic flow with all of our breath and bodies in sync, moving in and out of these odd shapes or poses. Total strangers perfectly in sync, unrehearsed. It was beautiful.
For me, practicing yoga was like hearing your favorite song, or reading poetry that moves you. It’s not all stretching or physical. Yoga happens internally. No one can see your practice in poses or pictures. It’s remembering what you already know on the deepest level, but had forgotten. It’s getting physically stronger and most importantly, mentally calmer. Not to discredit the excitement and pride there is when you’re able to do a challenging pose that you never thought was possible in your body. It’s learning we can do so much more than we think we can, simply if we don’t think; and take things as they come without limiting, self defeating thoughts. Yoga teaches you to shift your perspective, it doesn’t make your problems go away, but it helps you to deal with the inevitable ups and downs we all go through. Yoga helps us to be able to respond and not react when things are tough.
I started practicing yoga for stress relief but it has done so much more than that. Yoga has given me the opportunity to help people and to connect with people. Yoga has replaced a feeling of hopelessness and fear with trust and love. Teaching yoga has helped my once crippling anxiety melt away. There’s no prerequisite to starting a yoga practice. Benefits, shifts, and changes happen right away. The hardest part for me, harder than any of the poses is allowing myself to relax. When you finally do, even if just for a moment; the silence and stillness is bliss.