For a year or more I felt somewhat absent, solidifying a sense of uncertainty and fear in my psyche. I blamed my susceptibility to broken bones but deep down I knew it was because yoga was missing from my life.
Breaking my ankle twice last year, once in January and again in June, meant I was physically unable to practice yoga. This veiled me in a heavy cloak of doom, contorting around me like a famished boa constrictor. Doom morphed into fear. Though I never broke any bones while practicing yoga, I became fearful of it, along with most other physical activity.
I was so conscious and afraid of my physical frailties that I tucked my love for yoga away neatly on the outskirts of my consciousness, only to figure out later that it was to be my savior. But, fearing yoga wasn’t the only debilitating repercussion. As I sat dormant, waiting for my ankle to heal, toxicity trickled into my thoughts, spurring me into a vortex of vacuous existential questioning… Am I happy with my current career path? Why haven’t I traveled as much as I’d planned to? And what’s my direction? This raised huge concern—I couldn’t clearly visualize what I wanted to achieve in the foreseeable or distant future.
I was jammed on autopilot with a blindfold fastened tightly in place. Perhaps others can relate to feeling defeated and struggling to find purpose—maybe for them it wasn’t triggered by injury but rather a breakup or feeling redundant from a job.
Everything was distorted in a murky fog of uncertainty and this continued well after I was more than physically able to partner up with my yoga mat again. Only recently, after a long hiatus, a little voice told me to do just that and I decided to listen.
My first yoga class back was undoubtedly a physical challenge and my balance was less than "on point," but something awakened that day. It was imperceptible to anyone else but I felt the veil of doom begin to loosen its stronghold. Returning to my mat helped me get back on track after my injury, and I noticed this in a number of ways.
My fear of yoga was generated from the relationship I had with my body. I felt it had let me down so many times that I’d begun to mistrust and disassociate myself with it. But yoga breathed fresh energy into my limbs and reconnected my body with my mind. They are now tuned into the same frequency and I diligently manage my physical limits.
Fear exists for a reason. But being too fearful can stand in the way of personal growth and opportunities. For me, the plaguing fear distinctively dialed down in intensity as I glided out the door of the studio that day. Fear will always linger in some capacity but yoga builds a buffer zone between it and me. Yoga helps me understand and harness fear, even befriend it, and accept that uncertainty is part of the adventure, creating space for the other rad things in life.
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” –B.K.S. Iyengar
I’m humbled by how my perception has shifted. Yoga changes how I interpret the world. The allure of optimism captivates me, dulling any desire to entertain pessimistic or negative trains of thought. It's a stance that fosters possibility, and encourages happiness and clarity.
Say with me: "Don’t sweat the small stuff!" My longtime mantra but sometimes those little niggling bits in life that aren’t important ignite monstrous flames within us. Stamp them out before they ignite.
Lack of inspiration is a menacing cause of stress and nurtures one of my tireless demons, procrastination. I have always struggled with procrastination but lately I have been able to—somewhat—breakaway from its ferocity. Instead of procrastinating I am now inspired to write, specifically, this article. I love to write, it makes me feel good; yoga feels good, and it’s like yoga motivates me to keep chasing things that feel good.
Finding inspiration and finding "purpose" go hand in hand. Honestly, I am still figuring this part out. Though, instead of lying stagnant and lost in static thoughts, I am now enthused and motivated to plough my way forward.
Gut instinct is like a compass, either a subtle or sometimes menacing whisper, offering guidance towards the right path. I describe it as simply "knowing," like a built-in oracle. If you learn to tap into the wisdom of your oracle, the benefits will be plentiful.
Making the right decisions are an intrinsic part of living, so when you’re quite obviously not making good choices something probably needs to change. Yoga helped me trust and tune back into my body, and synonymously, it helped me tune back into and trust my gut instinct.
OK, so let’s stop questioning everything. If things aren’t going well trust that you will know what to do—listen to your gut! Yoga is like gravity—it keeps me grounded. I no longer allow the incessant questioning inflate my insecurities. I trust that I am exactly where I need to be, doing what I need to be doing and enjoying it while I’m doing it. Enjoy the journey because when you focus only on where you want to be, you miss the bit in between, which is life.
Essentially, yoga is freeing. Releasing me from my demonic doom, fear of further injury, toxic thoughts, incessant questioning, et cetera.
So, I will leave you with this sentiment:
“Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.” – B.K.S. Iyengar