My on again off again relationship with yoga
Hello Namastshay fam ✨ I’m back again to share more about my personal journey with yoga! The first post in this series How I Found Yoga is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my yoga practice. My yoga practice and I have had a turbulent ride; and if I’m being honest here, the relationship has been mostly one sided for the majority of our time together… until recently at least. I say that because yoga, the stable one of us two, has always been there for me – waiting patiently without judgment as I veer off and return, veer off again, and then return again, over and over. I’m so grateful for that. Yoga has always been my constant, no matter how inconsistent my practice. Speaking of veering off.. let’s hop back into the story.. be sure to go and read How I Found Yoga to get up to speed first before reading the rest of this post!
As I mentioned in How I Found Yoga, after my first class I was hooked. Now, let me be clear here – after my first class I was NOT in love with the practice, mostly because it challenged me in ways I hadn’t been challenged before, it illuminated all of the uncomfortable things within me that demanded attention, and also because it was hard AF and in my early 20’s I really didn’t like to do things I didn’t think I was “good” at (hello ego!); but even still, I was hooked. What hooked me was the unidentifiable shift that seemed to occur every single time I stepped on my mat. Some days I didn’t even know why or how I made it to class, it was almost like this other worldly force was guiding me, but each time I landed on my mat another layer of inauthenticity was peeled back, a shift occurred, I was was changing – each class truly was groundbreaking; even if I couldn’t comprehend what was happening, sh*t was HAPPENING.
Working through hard feelings and confronting your ego is hard work; it’s uncomfortable, sticky, messy and downright ugly at times. Yoga held my hand through the fire and supported me as I confronted all of the darkness that resided within me; but overtime I grew tired. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by this game of tug of war I was playing with my ego, limiting beliefs and deeply ingrained destructive habits, and in one feel swoop I let go of the rope and let my ego win.
Without getting into too much detail, my vulnerable heart and I took a back seat as my ego ran head first into a relationship that wound up becoming extremely toxic, abusive, severely traumatic and wildly chaotic. It was bad. Like so so bad. Ugh. Those were the absolute darkest days of my entire existence. I was so disconnected from myself, my truth, my heart, my soul, my spiritual practice, my yoga practice, and well, everything good and nourishing. I made one bad decision after the next, and each time I hit rockbottom, the ground beneath my feet metaphorically gave out, and I fell even deeper. The life I was creating became my personal hell on earth – no I’m not being dramatic, it was that bad.
When things would get really bad (and I was able to pull my head out of my a** for long enough to think straight) I would feverishly run back to yoga desperate for answers and guidance. I’d go hoping to somehow attain the courage to make a change, leaving it up to fate rather than taking responsibility and grabbing the reins of my life and doing it myself. One class here, another class there – my yoga practice was sporadic, and sometimes for months at a time, non-existent.
After 2 years and countless failed attempts to leave this abusive relationship I landed at another one of my rockbottoms (sad to say this wasn’t my true and final rockbottom, but it was a gnarly bottom regardless – I did learn though that I have a pretty deep threshold for pain and bullsh*t). In an effort to plan an escape out of this deep dark hole I “found” myself in the only thing that came to mind was yoga. I felt this deep seated pull to get back to my practice. My life had become unmanageable, I needed to do something drastic. In the summer of 2014 I decided to do a yoga teacher training, I had no desire to teach at the time, I was only looking for healing, support, a distraction and safety. I thought, that if I could get into the habit of a daily practice and fully immerse myself in my yoga practice that MAYBE, just maybe I could finally muster up the courage to cut ties with the toxic relationship and maybe try to live a life where I didn’t want to die every day. My plan worked for the entire month long training, I started to feel like myself again little by little, and I remember things starting to look up! But in the weeks following the conclusion of my training I became weak, started skipping yoga, and inadvertently fell right back into the same old toxic cycle. Hello pain, my dear old friend.
Another year of hell, far worse than the last and I found myself shattered into microscopic pieces, right back where I started; actually I was worse off than when I started. My yoga practice became a thing of the past, yet again, and this time I not only lost myself, I had also lost 99.9% of any hope that I held for happiness and peace. I remember thinking this is my life, it sucks, I will always be unhappy. Life will always be hard. I will always struggle. I will always be stuck in this cycle of pain. I will never be happy.
In the summer of 2015, so a year after my first attempt at escaping and my first yoga teacher training, I hit my second to last rockbottom. In a brief moment of clarity all signs pointed to YOGA, so I enrolled in another teacher training, still with no desire to teach.. it was literally again just an effort to sever ties with this downward spiral I had been on and start fresh. I really looked at these yoga teacher trainings as a spiritual bootcamp or rehab of sorts, ya know what I mean? Anyways, like with my previous attempts I started off strong but with my trainings only happening on the weekends it left ample time for me to succumb to my ego (and my ex) and fall back into unhealthy patterns during the week. Within weeks of starting my second YTT I was back with my ex, but luckily I had respite on the weekends at my trainings. This particular training was special because it was with Travis Elliot, the yoga teacher who really made me fall in love with yoga all those years prior. The three months of training were an interesting time, I felt like I had one foot in and one foot out of both my relationship and the possibility of a new healthier life centered around yoga. Even in limbo I was starting to see the light for real in a way I hadn’t before. My tolerance for bullsh*t started to lessen and I really truly started to grow tired of the chaos. I realized that I couldn’t live in alignment if I stayed in the relationship. Deep down I wanted alignment and all of it’s bliss, peace, happiness and glory so badly, but my stubborn, tenacious and loyal Taurus spirit just wasn’t quite ready to give up….
….. to be continued.