This is the first in a short series of blog posts about WHY I do what I do and I thought I’d start with Yoga because this is the first ‘stretch’ discipline I started with. I began to practice yoga at the age of 13 when I got a book from the library with poses and an explanation of the 8-limbed path to enlightenment. I can’t remember what it was called but it a profound effect on me.
I was a girl from a nondescript town in Northern Ireland during a time when we didn’t have much contact with other cultures, much less a yoga one. However, the book and its contents fascinated me. So much so, that when I was considered old enough I took myself to the local Tech’ to learn yoga.
Alongside the other night-schoolers learning French, typing and car mechanics I brought my sleeping bag (we had no sticky mats in those days – it was the late 80s!) to stand on for the triangle and tree pose and to snuggle into for the relaxation at the end.
I was younger than the other students in my class by about 50 years but I didn’t care. In fact, it felt great to me that I was being praised for my physicality when in the school gym I was ridiculed for my lack of co-ordination.
I loved how yoga was physical but was NOT about teams and competing against each other. I loved how yoga taught me how to breathe properly but was NOT about smoking which everyone else around me seemed to be starting to do. I especially loved the relaxation, after which I floated home on a cloud of well-being. I have been seeking that spiritual high ever since!
So, why did I start yoga? One of my earliest teachers once said to me that I was a Yogi in a former life and I completely agree. How else can you explain my fascination with this other-worldly religion / spiritual movement / science of life when I came from a very traditional Protestant Christian upbringing in a boring 1980s housing estate in a boring suburban town in the small suburb of the UK that was Northern Ireland during the Troubles?
All I know is that my life has been blessed by having yoga in it. Yoga has saved me on so many occasions and it has brought me to so many new experiences all over the world. I can’t imagine my life without yoga in it.
Yoga means union and that’s exactly how it makes me feel – at one with the world.