In the few years I have been a yoga instructor, there is one question that always seems to come up: why yoga? I’d like to say that there is a typical reason for people to begin yoga and I am some exceptional case, but that would simply be untrue. Some people do yoga to find peace in their busy lives. Some do it because their parents introduced yoga to them in their childhood. I am part of the collection of people who started yoga to make my body feel better.
Flashback to my childhood days: I was in competitive dance, soccer, and gymnastics. I could move my body in whichever direction my heart desired. I was blessed with a limber body for years, and I took it for granted.
Then one day, May 1, 2012 to be exact, my life changed. I was on my way from lunch to my high school when a truck smashed into the left side of my car at over 50 miles per hour. The girl behind the wheel of the truck was texting and driving, and she didn’t notice the red light. My car was totaled.
The fire department had to cut me out of my car (which is why my door is missing), and they transported me to the hospital right down the road. Upon my arrival, it was revealed that I had sustained significant injuries. All the ribs on my left side were broken, in addition to my sternum, my right shoulder blade, my tailbone, and my pelvis in a few places (in the ischium area for all you anatomy nerds). My most significant, however, was my torn aorta. They said my chances of survival were if you flipped a coin and it landed on it’s edge. The doctors at the hospital made the decision to fly me to Memorial Hermann in Houston for treatment. Long story short, I made it to the hospital, had two surgeries (one heart surgery and one to place a metal fixator in my pelvis so it would heal correctly), stayed in the hospital for 10 days, and was transferred to an in-patient rehabilitation facility for a week. I was finally given approval to go home, and a month later I had my fixator removed and had two screws put in my hip. That long story is a blog post in itself.
–LESSON: DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE!!!–
After all the excitement, I was back to semi-normal.However, I began to notice how badly my body felt. I couldn’t bend over and touch my toes – something I had easily done my whole life. My hips ached and my body was stiff. I had accepted this as my fate, until the magical day I discovered yoga was a course option for the local community college I was attending. My mom went to school with the woman, Kim, who was leading the class, so I knew I was in good hands.
The first day of class, Kim led a basic yoga flow class and introduced me to my favorite pose – toe stand. I couldn’t even bend over to get anywhere near the full expression of the pose, but the idea that I might one day was thrilling. In savasana, Kim played Young The Giant, and I felt better than ever. I knew then that I was in love! I immediately went home and ordered the best yoga mat I could find.
For the next few months, I religiously practiced with Kim, met one of my best friends in the universe (Lorelei), and made dreams into plans. A year before the anniversary of my first yoga class, I accomplished my dream of being a 200-hour RYT. My teacher training made me fall even more in love with yoga and, surprisingly enough, with myself. I began to feel my body and mind opening to possibility and acceptance. It was the greatest investment I have ever made.
After my certification, I began branching out to take classes from different instructors. I took a class with a wonderful woman, Pam, that was a second wave of breakthrough for me. Pam’s yin class opened my hips up in ways that I never thought possible after my accident. After a regular yin practice, toe stand opened up to me. I fell deeper in love with yoga.
By far the biggest reward from my love affair with yoga has been the moments when I witness a person fall in love with yoga and with themselves. It is a beautiful thing to see a person, struggling with body awareness and acceptance, transform from yoga. Watching the amazing sense of community that arises in my studio from yogis practicing together makes my heart explode with love.
So “why yoga?” you ask? Because it helps me better love myself and those around me. Yoga makes me grow and open up to possibility. I hope to continue on this yogic path and grow as a student, a teacher, and a human being. I hope you, if you haven’t already, get started on finding your yogic path. My yoga journey has just begun, and I can’t wait to see where it leads. ❤