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  • My Yoga story

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    4 posts, 4 voices, 889 views, started Jan 13, 2009

    Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 by Lisa Cohen

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    • Aquamarine
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      the following is a copy of a post to my personal blog on Jan 1st 2009...

      [Link Removed] 

      On the very first day of the man-made calendar year of 2009, I thought I would re-tell a little story of how I began my yoga journey. I first wrote it in the summer right before my 43rd birthday (which was sept 18th in case you want to mark it on your calendar..it's practically around the corner ya know).

      I began a dedicated, regular yoga practice about 5 years ago right before I turned 38. I was at a crossroads in my life after many years of battling my body, my addictions, my obsessions, and my life in general. I felt I was on a hamster wheel, running all the time, yet getting nowhere. I spent so much time in my own self induced isolation, overeating, over exercising, over working, and then becoming paralyzed, zoning out with the TV or computer.

      I sought help by joining a support group for my food and eating issues about 6 months before I began my yoga practice, and I began taking Bikram yoga for one reason...to continue to lose some weight and to be slim and physically in shape. Years of running and harsh physical activity was no longer suitable for me, not for my body, mind or spirit. So I began practicing hot yoga and as a creative way to finance my classes, I cleaned the studio in what was to become a very zen-like exchange of energy with the studio owner. Something clicked, and somehow, I was hooked. Yes, my body changed; while I was not overweight to begin, a few pounds melted off and I began to accept and even like my reflection in the mirror. But a deeper change was beginning.

      What I found was that I began to get in shape from the inside out. My basic personality of being an outspoken open person didn't disappear, but I began to be more mindful, a better listener, more compassionate, of greater service to others, humble. I didn't come to yoga for these things. They just happened. Actually they ARE happening. After about a year, I thought I was at an intermediate level with my practice; after a year and a half I realized I was a beginner...a beginner on all yogic levels. The journey, I discovered, was just beginning. The physical benefits are undeniable, but the subtle and not so subtle internal shifts are the miracles.

      As I turned 40, I felt the best I ever had felt in my life. Yes, I still had life happening...a teenage son, eating and body image issues, and working towards a balanced life in general. However, the willingness to change, to grow, is what I have found is the important thing. It's not seeking perfection in life. It's remaining teachable. As one very wise yogi told me, it's keeping a beginner's mind, as the possibilities are endless for beginners.

      One day, after nearly 2 1/2 yrs of a 5–7 day a week yoga practice, the teacher overslept, and the class asked me to lead them through the class. I was nervous, and I am sure I wasn't the best teacher or that I led the best class ever, but I did it. By serving the students, not only were they grateful to me, but I also did myself a service of feeling the joy of giving back. A new path had begun, and my cleaning barter for my classes became a part time job of leading a silent yoga class to seasoned practitioners each week. I was nervous at first, but then I delved within and did my best, letting go of the results. The students loved the classes, and a regular group formed a core of devoted yogis whom practiced with me weekly.

      Other blocks in my life began to lift. While I still reach for food compulsively at times, it does not rule my life as it once did and I don't feel trapped in a body that is unfit or unhealthy. After years of tossing around the idea of going to school to pursue a degree in holistic nutrition, I finally enrolled in school and am nearly 2/3rds of the way through with my program. Last year I attended a training and received a 100 hour certification to teach a type of hot yoga, and this year I not only am receiving another 100 hour certification, but I began a long and involved process to receive my Yoga Alliance 200 hour yoga teacher training certification. For nearly 3 years now, I have been teaching 1–4 yoga classes each week in a lovely studio, something I had never, not in my wildest dreams, envisioned doing in my life.

      My life is nothing like I could have envisioned and I am forever grateful for it all. My son left for college in August, and I am still processing the myriad of emotions that have been flowing through me. Most of the time I deal with them in ways that are mindful; sometimes I make less than ideal decisions. The point is that I am living my life the best way I can for today, learning from mistakes, accepting my humanness, remaining humble and open, and being of service to others. I am not seeking perfection nor do I always act in ways for which I am proud. Yoga helps me to recognize, to be aware, and to keep a beginner's mind.

      Yoga is a tool to keep me from becoming stagnant with my life and it reminds me to be grateful and to have an open heart.

      If you've read this little ramble, thanks for sharing my journey with me. I initially began writing this as a way to enter a contest to go to a yoga conference, but to tell you the truth, I continued to write as a way to get in touch with the way I am honestly feeling today. Letting go of the results is a gift, and for today I can honestly say that the results are really not so important as being able to share my story today.

      As for today, January 1st 2009..I resolve to not have resolutions other than to focus on each day.
      namaste....Lisa


      Lisaconehead, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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