Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Yoga Convert

I often hear stories of people who had a “love at first sight” experience with yoga. I have to admit though that I did not instantly fall in love with practicing yoga. It wasn’t as if I attended one class and decided that it was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Far from it. A college classmate dragged me to a hot yoga class early one Saturday morning. I was tired and hungover. By the end of the 90 minute class I wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep for the next week. I decided that yoga just wasn’t for me.

It wasn’t until several years later that I gave it another shot. I had decided at the time that I didn’t enjoy running, wasn’t fond of weight lifting, and just couldn’t get into cardio kickboxing. Perhaps yoga could get my lazy butt into shape. I first came to yoga only concerned with tightening my buns and trimming my waistline. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

When I started taking classes on my lunch break I would return to work with extra energy. One class a week slowly increased to two or three. During my first pregnancy I began practicing at home by stretching in the evenings and during my second pregnancy I focused on mediation in anticipation for childbirth and delivery. Practicing yoga on a regular basis was not something I had planned or thought much about. It just kind of happened.

It wasn’t until I became a mother that I began to understand the deeper lessons that yoga offered. Like most new moms I was lost and overwhelmed, I felt overtaken by the role of motherhood. I struggled to find my footing and regain a sense of identity outside of caring for my children. The practice of yoga gave me space, a quiet moment to reconnect with who I was at my core. When I lose myself in the fast pace of everyday life, quiet meditation is there to center me again.

I had started attending yoga classes strictly for fitness but found that over time it has transformed everyday living into a spiritual practice. I don’t think of spiritual in terms of the supernatural. To me, living spiritually means taking the time to nurture yourself emotionally. Finding a quiet moment while washing dishes to immerse yourself in the miracle of running hot water in my kitchen or feeling joy while reflecting on a day spent with my family. Those have turned into spiritual moments for me.

I, like many people, lose those moments when I am not fully present in my life. My mind often gets carried away with a never ending “to do” list or feels like I am not getting a break from my children. I am now finding joy in tasks I used to agonize over. Bedtime is no longer about struggling to get kids to sleep (geez kid… can’t you see I have a kitchen to clean?) but surrendering to a family snugglefest in bed.

While the physical benefits of yoga are undeniable they have taken a back seat to the emotional journey I have embarked on. My asana practice helps to ground and reconnect me with living in the moment. One breath, one movement at a time. It awakens me to the sensations of my body and blocks the distraction of thinking too far ahead in time or reflecting too deeply on the past. Despite our rocky beginnings, I am a yoga convert.

Krista Heimpel
January 2014

Krista is currently enrolled in the Yoga Centre Winnipeg 200hr Teacher Training Program

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