Several years ago I was facing a stressful period in my life and had heard that yoga was a good way to relax. I signed up for a class which happened to coincide with the first hour of my weekly quilting sit and stitch group. It was the only time the class was being offered, and it was a tough decision, but I thought I could try a class and see how I liked it, and if I didn’t – no big deal, no decision to make, no harm done.
But I did like it. In fact, I loved it. To say that it changed my life is not an exaggeration. That little yoga class taught me that my life was out of balance, and it started a chain reaction that altered my everyday existence.
So, back to the quilting group. The sit and stitch group met every Friday morning
from 9:30 – 12:30. The yoga class met 10:00 – 11:15 on Fridays. So I compromised by going to yoga and then on to quilting. First I was confronted about my priorities. The women in my group didn’t care for my sharing my time with another activity on Friday mornings. Several of the group seemed to feel threatened by my new pursuit. I thought that my friends would be happy for me to have found a healthy activity that made me feel so great. But I was wrong. I realized in that beginning yoga course that quilting had become too important in my life. I was bored with myself as I heard myself talking about projects I was working on and new ones I wanted to try and determining whether or not I had had a good day by how much progress I had made on my current quilt. I would sit in public restrooms and see quilt patterns in the floor tiles. I would calculate that if I just got up an hour earlier each morning, I would be able to finish so many more quilts. If I had to be a passenger in a car for more than 20 minutes I would always bring a quilt with me to work on. I was obsessed.
And yoga helped me see that. Yoga didn’t feel jealous when I also started taking piano lessons. And slowly, it changed me. I stood up straighter and breathed more deeply and had fewer and fewer aches in my hips and hands. I was more interesting and more interested in other things. And I also lost many friends. Oh, I know, if that’s the kind of people I had as friends… But still it hurt, nonetheless.
Yoga helped me become someone closer to whom I want to be. It has kept me grounded and flexible and it literally saved my life when I went into anaphylaxis after being given an antibiotic that I was allergic to during surgery and had to make an emergency 20 minute drive back to the hospital as my throat was closing up. It also saved me when I was in agonizing pain from a ruptured disc in my back. And it made all the difference in my recovery from that injury. It has helped me clear my mind for prayer and has made me more open to hearing the words of God.
So, now I practice yoga to enhance the rest of my life. Even though I now am a yoga teacher, it hasn’t become my life. It’s part of who am I and balances out the other parts of me.