I was raised Catholic. Very Catholic. Church every Sunday, or Saturday night for us. Baptism. First Communion. Confession. Confirmation. And so it went.
And then, wanting more than that, I was "Born Again". And everyone in my family heard about it. All the time. Ad nauseum.
And then... and then... I found yoga. It was a subtle transformation. At first it was just an exercise class that I signed up for with my oldest daughter and her friend. That was back in 2000. I loved it from that very first class. Something struck the core of my being even though it was "just an exercise class" any way you looked at it. Anyway, I was hooked. Long story short, I started a home practice and went on to some basic teacher training. I then taught yoga in the town I lived in and the neighboring town as well. 4 nights a week and I LOVED it.
I loved the interaction with the students. Mostly women, fewer men. I loved the looks on their faces when they went a bit deeper into a pose they had been working on. I loved when they asked me for therapeutic applications and reported back with their successes. I even loved the drive back home. Late at night along country roads, just taking it all in.
After we moved to a new province, I stopped teaching and my yoga practice really became my own. I had a wall of windows overlooking the Peace River in Alberta in the home we rented.( The name of that river only struck me as relevant at this very moment. Wow. Peace River.) I would roll out my mat nearly every day and overlook the river valley as I practiced asana after asana. It was then that my practice went from mostly a physical practice to more of a body/mind/spirit practice. This was so new to me. All of my life my interaction with "God" had to do with churches and organized religion. I stepped cautiously along this untrodden path.
Only a short year later we moved back to Saskatchewan and ultimately into the house we live in now. Small rural town. It wasn't long before I started teaching again, wanting to share this wonderful thing called Yoga with anyone who was interested. I began teaching 4 classes a week. I could just see the response in some of the students. They wanted what I wanted all those years ago! Some just wanted a "workout". Naturally I gravitated to those who wanted more. Circumstances made it harder for me to teach so I turned the classes over to another. It was all as it should be.
And now, 4 years later, my yoga practice means more to me than ever. I don't know when it happened but after Paul built me a home studio, sometime between then and now, I have always taken off my shoes/slippers before I enter the room. You see, it has really become a place where I connect with God. Not the God of the bible but with "Spirit, the Creator, the Universe" or whatever the name is. Always with an upper case letter. Whoever or whatever it is, I meet him/her there each time I enter. I think of that old song from my Christian days that goes something like this:
"This is holy ground. We're standing on holy ground. For the Lord is here and where he is is holy.
These are holy hands. We're lifting up holy hands. He works through these hands and so these hands are holy."
The floor of my studio and the space beyond the door is holy ground indeed.
These last few weeks I have made a commitment to enter into this room every day, roll out my mat and see what happens. I am so glad that I have done this for myself. Not only do I feel stronger and more supple, but I feel grounded and centered. I set an intention each time I begin. I want clarity of thought, kindness in my words and peace in my heart. I try to release all of those things that no longer serve me. Things like self pity, want of material things, unrealistic ideals, selfishness, resentment, anger, fear. I draw to myself all of the love, joy and goodness the Universe has to offer. I have learned to hold things loosely over the years for none of us, not one, is guaranteed tomorrow no matter how much we try. I am trying to live in the present moment. I am trying to be mindful in the every day. I am trying to love deeply and let all of my expectations go.
With this exciting new yoga commitment I can do this. I can learn to breathe and just be.