Back in Secondary school, I would always look forward to the end of my Violin lessons. My teacher's face would always light up when he talked about his home town. He would talk about how free the streets of New York were. He would always tell me that I could be whatever I wanted, that I had a voice, that I had a melody somewhat, even those times when I wasn't in tune.
Since then I always had a dream of moving to the states. I wanted to be free in the streets of NY. I wanted to sing, I wanted my voice to be heard even if I wasn't on pitch. I wanted to fly even though my wings were broken.
For years I lived with expectation. I was expected to attend University. I was expected to ace every single exam. I was expected to act like a lady and I was definitely expected to never talk back. My career path was chosen for me even before I can remember, somewhere along the lines of being a lawyer, a doctor or a rocket scientist. I would shake my head at the thought of it. How can I become all these things when my favorite subject was Drama.
Oh how I loved acting, I loved becoming a different person. I could be whoever I wanted to be and live the life I always wanted to live. The stage had become my escape from reality.
Today, my yoga mat has become my stage. I surrender to the earth and become grounded. This is the time when I feel free. I feel empowered and I feel myself.
When I moved to Los Angeles and began my yoga practice, I was so caught up with the image of 'perfection.' LA was the city of perfection. I always wondered who actually sets the standards. Was it all in my head or did I choose to please society? Was I really happy internally as I showed off a big smile externally?
I fell into the trap that most new yogis fall into, the thought of always having to be perfect : the perfect breathe, the perfect poses, the perfect clothing, the perfect balance, the perfect mat, the perfect teacher, the perfect studio, the perfect I can go on forever.
I eventually went to New York and I sang in the streets of the Big Apple. I stopped living for expectation and I started living for inspiration. I left the stage for a mat. The Elephant Man was no longer my favorite play, instead, Elephants were my favorite animal. I believe that the sun chasers miss out on the warmth only found in the coldest of times and I agree with my husband's sentiment, "there is no higher level than improvement."
Yoga has done so much for me. I have come to accept and love my imperfections. I have seen my past mistakes and my future dreams. I’ve shed tears disguised as sweat, and have felt the bliss of real-time inhales and painful exhales. I’ve smiled at the child in me and laughed at my important falls. I see who I am clear as today. I have flesh, and curves, and spirit, and life. I see not who I was or wished to be but who I am. The best part is that I see someone that I love in every way. If I could be anyone in the yoga room at all, I would want to be me! I love my heritage and the color of my skin, how yoga has made me strong, and the way my journey is unfolding, but most of all I've learned that not much is so much than nothing.