When I think back to thirteen years ago it's a bit of a blur. I was in my early twenties, newly married, I had two toddlers and a six month old baby. I was in the middle of my bachelor of social work program and my husband in his education program. Phew, it stresses me out just writing that!
What I do remember though is Yoga was something I had been interested in for a long time. When I moved out of the home of my family of origin I brought with me a Yoga book from the 1970's that belonged to my parents. I put it neatly on my bookshelf, never opened, with good intentions to read it. When I my sister found a Yoga class at the YWCA I decided this was my opportunity to try it out. At the time I thought it was something else to scratch off my to-do-list.
The very first class was on January 31, 2002. For some reason, perhaps because of how transformational this practice has been to me, I remembered this date and have since considered it my Yoga birthday. Being introduced to the practices of Yoga was a sort of rebirth for me.
I, along with about 30 other New Year's resolutioners, came to class. The class was packed wall to wall and space was limited. It was an anomaly for a yoga class at that time in our small city and more like yoga in the big city. My lovely teacher, Karen, adapted the class to do an entire two hour pranayama (breathing) class for the lack of space.
At first it was challenging to stay relatively still and focus on breathing. As we connected our body, breath and awareness however I began to settle in. At the end she led us through a guided Savasana, or final relaxation, the icing on the cake. When I left two hours after the class began I felt such a sense of calm alertness and connection that I had never felt before. I was going through extreme stress at this time in my life I was instantly hooked. Previously I had been so disconnected from myself and Yoga filled me with a sense of coming home.
Eight years later Karen moved away and asked me to continue teaching for her which led me to the teachers' seat. This step took my Yoga practice to a whole new place as I delved deep into practice and study.
And now, thirteen years after that first class, I feel such a deep sense of gratitude. I feel gratitude to the rebirth that happened thirteen years ago and the rebirth that occurs everytime I sit up from Savasana on my mat. I feel gratitude to Karen for all the teachings she shared with me and for seeing something in me that I didn't see in myself. I feel gratitude to all the people who attend my classes and offerings and allow me the honour of leading them in practice. And finally I feel gratitude to the teachings of Yoga which truely helped me heal and changed my course in life. With that, happy Yoga birthday to me!
love and light,