"Before yoga, I worked out a lot. I was a workout maniac, the harder the better. Then one day I woke up with sciatica pain down my leg. I thought it would go away, but it got worse and worse for the next two years. I couldn't work, sit down, or stand up. I went to all the doctors and tried everything from deep massage to chiropractors. Finally I quite the gym and went to yoga. I lost weight, and after three months 75 percent of the pain was gone. Then came other painful lessons in my life. I kept practicing, and I started reevaluating everything. All my angers and resentments came up. I think it was all stuck in my body. I buried all my emotions and I didn't know that I was doing it. I started seeing things clearly. I remembered being seven and that my leg hurt back then. I realized that that's where I started holding everything. With the opening of my body, all this stuff started flowing out. I faced things head-on, felt them, and let go. It changed me completely."
by Jene R., yoga teacher
in Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates
How many of you can relate to this story or are at least curious about it? There is good reason yoga and also meditation is getting more credit, research done by Ivy League institutions, and attention by respected media. I myself was a gym person till an older mentor coworker of mine recommended I try a hatha yoga class in 1995. I had been "working out" for years but seemed to never get or feel very strong. I had always been somewhat flexible, but strength was illusive. My self esteem was very externally focused and conditional. I had a habit of being ignorant to my anxious, shallow breath. Over time, with a lot of persistence and discipline to my hatha yoga practice, my body was transformed. I stopped going to the gym. I began to feel patient, accepting, stronger, more confident from the inside and less obsessive, neurotic, dependent on what strength looked like on the outside. Today I can BREATHE deeper. Something shifts over time when we quiet the mind and practice being present with the breath and the body. We begin to undo layers of protection that may no longer be serving us. My graduate school thesis presentation explored my transformation going from years of an armored, tense, protected, stiff upper back to an increased ability to backbend and open my heart to emotion, empathy, and vulnerability thanks to daily ashtanga vinyasa yoga. It's a process that might not make sense till you try it. Sadly, in today's society of short lived fads and FOMA, many people may only dabble in yoga and not make it to the goodness, the transformative meat of the practice. So, are you ready to shift your mindset to "slow and steady wins the race"? I challenge you to take a breath and consider it.
This is where I share MY TRUTH.... authentically, some of my thoughts, inspirations and insights that might be of service for whomever has interest and need.