My first challenge was unintentional. My brother in law bought me the sneaky and completely ‘jam-packed-with-ulterior-motives’ and just ‘give it a try’ famous introductory month at MYH. I was finally in a position to drive the distance and commit.
This is more the story around my first challenge. I was starting from scratch, brand new to yoga let alone hot yoga. The first few classes were more stressful than relaxing overall and I’ll never forget my sister plopping my mat right beside the teacher and I hated her for that😉. I remember trying SO hard and being really self conscious, totally distracted and completely sure everyone in the room was secretly shaking their heads at my lack of coordination and balance. My complete lack of yoga-ness. All of the gentle guidance to make this a breath centred and internally focused experience bounced off of me like a ping pong ball or maybe better said bounced IN my brain like that hollow sound that felt like everyone around could hear too. I had never experienced this kind of feeling and the triggers that would pop up seemingly out of nowhere. It seemed as though every button was being pushed and holding those poses HOLY HELL. My reflex was to try to escape that feeling of running away.
But I stayed.
Something also started to rise up that felt SO good…a little like freedom. There was a relief that would float up. A relief from something I couldn’t really pin point. I started to notice the other side of the work felt really really good. Really good.
So I stayed.
I kept showing up. Over and over again. I kept getting braver. I learned to breathe, I learned to stay with the burn and embrace the effing uncomfortable – sometimes. Sometimes I gave up. Sometimes I was a mess. Sometimes I felt puffy, grumpy, and agitated. Sometimes I felt solid and strong. Sometimes I couldn’t focus on a thing that was being said. Sometimes I bawled quietly because something touched my cracked open heart to invite me to let the pain go, to rest, truly rest.
So I kept coming.
I wrestled with thinking I should be improving faster. I thought I should be progressing according to some sort of self created measurement that was a yoga unspoken ‘expectation.
So I kept coming.
I kept coming because I was also realizing things that quietly revealed themselves especially when I was too tired to wrestle anymore. I was starting to see what emerges when my thoughts became quieter. It felt SO good. It felt like years of rest in a few peaceful breaths sometimes.
I was learning rest is underneath all of the resistance and inner turmoil. I was learning suffering is something we endure we we run away from the pain, freedom and peace is discovered when we breathe through the pain. Little by little. Breath by breath. I was breaking down the dark walls of my mind and the prison self made based on comparison, worry, distortied self perception, worth, and that constant feeling of never good enough. I was learning to trust instead of fear to let go and began realizing that on the other side was relief, rest, space, and freedom for a really tired and deficient soul. I started to feel the freedom to start to be me…whoever that was…a bit of a stranger that I hadn’t really known for years and years. I was softening, strengthening, breathing, and getting unstuck.
I kept coming. I kept coming. I kept coming.
Little by little and also all at once this changed my entire existence. I’m not exaggerating.
The transformation never ever ends. EVER.
I will keep coming. For the rest of my life.
That first yoga challenge opened up a door that led me to a brand new life experience and embrace. I’m forever changed and grateful. I continue to evolve and grow peace, little by little, breath by breath, moment by moment. I’m so thankful.
(Originally published October 18, 2018)