I started practicing yoga over 40 years ago. There was a class in the evenings that my mom wanted to take when I was eight years old, but she didn't have a babysitter so she brought me along. The teacher was kind and nurturing. She set out a mat for me "just in case" I got bored with my coloring book and wanted to join in. It looked simple enough from where I was sitting, so I did join in the practice, and my life was forever changed.
Until that time I always felt as if I didn't belong. It was as if I was an alien trapped in this human world in a body that I didn't like, surrounded by all of these emotions coming at me from every direction, and it seemed like I was the only one who could see how none of it seemed to make any sense. I was chubby, introverted (to the point that I am sure I would have fallen somewhere on the autism/asperger's spectrum), and I was insatiably curious. So I got on the mat.
In that first class I remember feeling as if it were the first time in my life that I felt comfortable in my body. It was a practice in exploration and observation. There was no right or wrong, good or bad, nothing to prove. There was only a quest to connect deeply to peace by bringing the body into a complete state of relaxation, the emotions into a state of contentment, and the thoughts to a restful state. And that quest has continued all of my life.
Through my yoga practice I have learned to love and appreciate my body, to honor my need to go within to process my emotions, and to proactively choose which thoughts I will follow. I have found a deep love and appreciation for those with whom I have practiced, and for all my fellow spiritual beings.
I realized through yoga that I do belong, and so do you. I encourage you to find a class. If you feel like you'd like private instruction first to build your knowledge and courage, then find a teacher. But whatever you choose to do, remember that your body, emotions, and thoughts are tools for you to use on your spiritual path of awakening. I encourage you to wake up peacefully and naturally through yoga. And if you already have "alarms" going off in your life...it's not too late to hit the snooze button and make a different choice.
By Keli Ackroyd
Just some thoughts and ideas to hopefully inspire, educate, and empower you...