I came to the practice of yoga for stress relief from a very demanding job in fashion design. I truly believe I did not find yoga, it found me. Gradually, I fell in love with all that yoga embodies, gives and creates. A friend convinced me to take my very first class, and I was extremely hesitant, not ever having much physical activity in my life. No dance, no gymnastics, (a question I get asked often) so I was never very mind/body connected which intimidated from going into a yoga room. I had some natural flexibility but no strength. I took that first class, and after savasana I knew in the depths of my spirit that I had found something that was going to change my life. In retrospect, it wasn’t what I thought it would be -- the physical asana. It was the practice of surrender and trust that allowed me to connect to my true nature, my inner joy and my creativity.
I was happy person before yoga, but I had a tendency to worry and get lost in thoughts of the future or potential problems. Gradually this practice has given me so many ways to find gratitude, to trust, to let go. To not be lost in stress or worry has been one of the most empowering things in my life. I discovered that letting go and being playful with the poses also illuminated the childlike spirit inside of me. We tend to repress that spirit out of fear of not being in control. Ironically that is just where we can find deep connection and incredible control.
Once I began delving into the physical practice on an intense level, I had an unquenchable desire to explore advanced, gravity defying poses. I attempted to do all of the inversions and arm balances, as well as learn challenging transitions. I found through much trial, that the only way to find the physical form of a pose, is to have immense patience and trust. Only when I would stop, detach, and breathe, would anything start to shift in my body. The more I would try to force these poses to come the further they would run from me. I spent many hours practicing but once I released attachment to the outcome I found freedom. I would say to myself “forget it, it is never going to happen, I give up”...then my body would respond and the pose would come, even if it was just a glimpse of it. Learning to practice in a very light and floaty way is a process like anything else. The element of trust is crucial. The process can be humbling. However I believe anyone can find it with deep patience and a joyful outlook. Know that your body will respond when it is ready and love every second getting there. It is in the process and journey of yoga where the magic lies. To allow yourself to fall, play and have fun with what your capable of is how we grow and expand. For me, now the physical practice is like a foot note in this all encompassing practice of joy, peace and serenity.
The process of surrender is essential while learning inversions, arm balances, or any challenging postures. I truly believe allowing yourself to detach from the physical pose is the moment we can cultivate that light open fluid practice that is so fun, and rewarding physically and spiritually. The most amazing feeling is to know that you are going enjoy your practice no matter what happens, because the joy is in the present moment, the gratitude is in the present moment, and all the power is in the present moment. How can you fail if failure does not exist in your mind! The flight and balance will find you....with patience, practice and knowing. So trust, surrender and enjoy the beautiful journey!