Monday, 9 May 2016

Finding Heartland

My very first yoga class was in 1999 at a studio named Heartland Yoga. Heartland no longer exists, but my yoga practice has flourished as a result of that beginning. In fact, those first yoga classes sit in my mind like a beautiful photograph. When I’m struggling in my current practice, I remember those early days and I lean into those joyful moments when hope was cultivated deep within my spirit.

At that time in my life I was on the hazardous detour of perfectionism. I was chronically self-critical, constantly striving for more in my life and never giving myself the break that I needed. While I thought I was only investing in the health of my body, my mind, heart and spirit began to grow.

Yoga helped me to cultivate the courage to be vulnerable, imperfect and self-compassionate. It started me on the path of becoming real. What I mean by “real” is that I started to become more authentic, genuine, more in touch with my…self. Instead of thinking that I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it, I realized that just being me was good enough.

I was a farm girl who very abruptly made the shift to city life as a young adult. It was shocking. At that time, I simply thought that if I looked perfect and did everything perfectly, that I would avoid any painful feelings associated with others judgment. It was a self-destructive and unattainable goal.

Yoga allowed me to see that I was enough just the way I was. It gave me the capacity to be warm and understanding towards myself during times of great difficulty. It also allowed me to see that these thoughts were part of a collective mindset and that I was not alone. Most importantly, yoga helped me to be mindful and not get caught up in my thoughts.

Most of us are wading through uncertainty, self-doubt and self-criticism. Yoga has provided me with resilience in the face of this relentless “never enough” cultural message that we are all bombarded with on a daily basis. I am living and loving now with my whole heart.

I suppose the name of the studio where I first practiced was accurate. I discovered my “heart land” in yoga.

~ Jennifer ~

1 comment:

  1. Well, it warms my heart to see this post about Heartland Yoga....I created Heartland back in 1998 with hopes that it would indeed instill the heart and depth of yoga to those who passed through its doors...I love your phrase: ``those yoga classes sit in my mind like a beautiful photograph``...This sums it up for me also...Heartland was short-lived, but those classes and the folks who attended them live firmly in my heart memory. These days I do not have a studio, but I am training yoga teachers and teaching classes around my new hometown of White Rock, BC. Heartland Yoga is never far from my heart...Warm Hugs to all of you! Gayle Asha Dieleman;