clear and awake for the first time

Two weeks ago, when I declared that I had fallen in love with yoga, no one cheered more loudly than my friend Kerry. Her writings on yoga have moved me to tears, and made me long to feel similarly powerful responses. Not long ago Kerry suffered the unimaginable loss of her home due to a devastating flood. The grace, calm and strength she showed in the weeks that followed provided even more proof of the healing and restorative power of yoga – and made me even more determined to get there.  

Below Kerry shares the story of her journey to yoga via her Aha! moments. Kerry, thank you for being such an inspiring yogi. Namaste.

xoxo nancy

The fact that it comes as no surprise is what surprises me about my love for yoga. It’s as if I should have known. As if this path has been paved for me all along.

I was a shy child, seeking quiet and time to myself when I could find it. I would play for hours on end by myself with my dolls, enjoying every moment. My youth years were spent seeking something outside of the norm, whether it was my clothing style, musical taste or the books I read. These things ultimately did not define me but I believe it was, and is, the fact that I am inherently a seeker that draws me to yoga.

In college I continued seeking, studying Psychology and Philosophy, though neither of these landed me a good job after graduation. Shortly after college I got involved fully in life, finding work, meeting my now husband, traveling, moving, and finally settling down to have children. Never once in those earlier years did I try yoga. It wasn’t until we moved back to my home town, bought a home and I got a membership at the local YMCA. I did a yoga class there, having no idea what exactly it was, despite having studied eastern philosophies in college. I only had a very surface level intellectual idea of it. So, I went into this class in a dark, dingy room in the lower level of the old YMCA building, and took a class on a borrowed mat. I hated it. I had to keep watching the teacher and then fumbled into position. I got lightheaded and felt sick. I think I even pulled a muscle. I couldn’t get out of that room fast enough and made a subconscious decision to never go again.

Fast forward 4-5 years when I became pregnant with my second child. Instead of working out with weights and cardio, as I did during my pregnancy with my daughter, I tried prenatal yoga. Some friends had told me about this one yoga studio in the area and how great the prenatal class was. So I tried it. Being busy with my daughter, I felt some time to exercise and have quiet time would be beneficial. I had never been to an actual yoga studio before and to be honest, I was slightly intimidated. I worried that I wouldn’t fit the bill, that I was not hippie enough anymore, that I didn’t smell of oils or was not new-agey enough. But then as I walked in and found a spot on which to place my mat, I felt welcomed. We settled in and did gentle yoga and while in meditation and then in Om, I felt tingles all over my body and an energy I had never felt before. It was amazing and curious, and I wanted more. So I went back every Saturday during my pregnancy, seeking that energy and stillness. It was time for me, and it was important. It was my first of many “Aha!” moments on my yoga journey.

After the birth of my son, I immersed once again into motherhood which meant not so much time for personal extracurricular activities. I had not yet investigated my own personal yoga or meditation practice so it wasn’t until my daughter entered kindergarten two years later that I made a regular practice of yoga once again. I entered the same studio as before. The first couple of classes were great, I loved the experience and I felt sore the day after. Moving my body again felt great and taking time to quiet my mind was invaluable.

329ff__5049Then I had another experience in a particularly long meditation at the end of a yoga session and I knew there was something much greater to yoga than just quiet and stretching. I felt myself levitate. I felt disconnected to my body, and yet more connected to my SELF, others and the universe than ever before. I felt lifted and no longer connected with my limbs, my torso or any other part of my body. It was amazing, and when the gong chimed, I slowly became aware of what had just occurred.

I felt clear and awake for the first time. Aha!

I have found such clarity in yoga. I have found answers to muddling problems. I have cried ugly tears in yoga; I have laughed, I have been angry, I have grieved, and most importantly, I have always felt love when the session ends. Because in yoga, I see myself without judgment.

The Witness rises to the surface as I let all other chatter move by.

Each time I sit on my mat to begin a yoga session, there is always a new opportunity for an “Aha!”, and it’s that possibility that continues to bring me back. I take my practice into my daily life, and find richer, more meaningful moments as I navigate challenging situations with life and relationships.

There is no one type of person who does yoga. Yoga is for everyone. It isn’t about how flexible you are or your religious background. Each person has the opportunity to quiet their minds and find their own “Aha!”

All you have to do is show up to your mat and give yourself the opportunity to tune in always seeking what lies beyond the mental chatter.

Thank you Nancy for asking me to write this post about my yoga “Aha!” moment. I know so many find yoga hard to understand and they feel as if they are not doing something right if they don’t get it at first. Yoga may take time. Flexibility and the ability to quiet down and connect within take time too. Try to be gentle with yourself and give it time, you too will have your own “Aha!”

me

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48 thoughts on “clear and awake for the first time

  1. Beautiful post. The benefits of meditative moments are many. So glad you’ve created space for a practice that allows you to access the wisdom within.

    ”What are you ~ a god, an angel, a saint?”
    “No,” replied The Buddha, “I am A-W-A-K-E.”

  2. Nancy, thank you so much for the guest post and more importantly for your super kind words. They are lovely and make me all warm and fuzzy 🙂 I am thrilled that you love yoga now, I knew you eventually would. xo

  3. Hi Kerry (and Nancy) Thank you for this great post and how beneficial it can be for our lives. I think you hit on a REALLY important aspect. I began yoga many years ago and started with a wonderful teacher who was exactly what I needed. It was about being present, stretching, connecting, “unity”. Unfortunately when that yoga teacher moved away I tried about half a dozen teachers and none came close to comparing. And I stopped. And while I have continued on with a daily meditation, journalling and a variety of other spiritual practices I do miss the experience of yoga….but it all depends on the teacher. Maybe it’s time to keep looking….~Kathy

    • I couldn’t believe the difference the right yoga instructor (for me) would make. The fact that I made this connection with a yogi in video form is even more impressive!

      Kerry’s been a huge inspiration to me to keep looking for that ‘right’ yoga experience.

    • I think the right yoga teacher is important in the beginning but after you develop you’re own practice the teacher becomes less important. I have been in classes with teachers that aren’t my favorite but it really doesn’t matter. The instructor is more of a guide but the practice is your own.
      That is wonderful that you continue your daily meditation and journaling, it is so important to take that time for reflection.
      Good luck on your yoga journey!

  4. Lovely and very inspirational guest post! I’ve experienced similar aha-moments in meditation, but maybe I should gather the courage to get my completely non-flexible body on the yoga mat….

  5. Why is it that I felt immediate peace reading this!? Kerry makes it seem so wonderful and I love how she said we all can find our own aha. Having fibromyalgia, I tried a gentle class years ago but unfortunately left the class in tears from the pain. I have not given it a second chance and always wonder about doing so. This is inspiring. 🙂

    • It was writing like this that made me want so badly to connect to some firm of yoga. She was definitely one of the most inspiring yogis I’ve encountered. I hope you do give it a try again Maria. Maybe an at home video, like I’ve been doing with the Namaste series?

    • Thank you! I hope you do give it a try again. sometimes the first time turns us off but don’t give up. I know another blogger with fibromyalgia who does yoga and it is the one thing that helps. Also, a friend of mine also suffers and recently became a yoga teacher, shes awesome.

  6. Interesting. Yoga has never been my thing but I’ve also never really tried. My wife is well into it, and this post is vivid enough that maybe I should try again. Nancy, thanks for the guest post dude.

  7. Nancy, a great guest blogger–thank you for sharing your space. Kerry, such a lovely post and one that’s speaks to the very core of me. I’ve done yoga for the last twelve or thirteen years and now I cannot remember not doing it. I’ve brought my kids to the classes, encouraged them to take it up when offered at school, and thank my lucky stars for the best teacher I could possibly hope for. She is my Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder, my subconscious speaking to me with nearly every move I make and every breath I take. Yoga was the best life decision I’ve ever made.
    Cheers to you both.

  8. Reblogged this on Winding Road and commented:
    Thank you Nancy for posting my yoga journey on your blog! It was a pleasure to share my Aha! moments with your readers. I sincerely hope others find their way to a mat to find their own. xo

  9. I am not sure how I missed this post when it was originally published. I guess it’s my spotty blog reading and writing! I too believe that I was meant for yoga in my life, but even though I have practiced on and off since the 80s, I don’t think I was ready to fully embrace it until the last year or so. I have not had the levitation experience, but I have had moments of sheer joy, peace, and calm that I haven’t felt from an activity before.

    This was beautifully written and captures the essence of the experience of yoga.

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