Everyone has a story of their first contact with yoga. Usually yoga opens up a whole other world for most people, a universe they didn't even know existed, within themselves. Sometimes it is a beautiful love story straight from the beginning, and sometimes it has a slightly different, and possibly angry first encounter. The second scenario is my story of how yoga came into my life.
At the age of 23, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Drained, bitter, and frustrated, I was a walking misery. I wasn't good company, and I didn't find joy in many things. Life has thrown me many lessons to deal with up to that point, and I wasn't handling them very well. I was suffering from insomnia for a year, working two jobs, finishing off university, and training boxing every day, sometimes twice a day. My training was important to me, it was my security blanket.
It was a chaos, a mess and I wasn't even aware of it, even though my body was giving me all the big warning signs, I completely disregarded them. For example a "minor" issue like loosing my periods for a full year. A female would know how devastating that can be. Still, I kept pushing, refusing to acknowledge any alarm signs or slow down.
Until my body broke down even more. After a training session, while stretching out, I somehow managed to make a wrong move and my left hamstring muscle fibres tore. The sound of it tearing was horrifying, it echoed through the gym and I knew it wasn't good. Within seconds, immense pain started shooting through my leg, it felt like it was on fire. Of course, seeing a doctor wasn't an option, because that would mean questioning my lifestyle, choices and priorites, so instead I spent the next few days in agony having ice packs as my best friends. I couldn't sit or walk, and the pain after a while, went from acute to chronic. Meaning I could do basic movements, but I couldn't sit for longer periods of time, and my training had to take on a much milder form.
That is when the universe intended for me to take my first yoga class. At the gym where I trained, after an unsatisfying, painful session, I somehow wandered to the first floor. As I climbed the stairs and entered the shala, not knowing it was a shala, I walked into a room full of people. The teacher asked me if I am joining them today. Without thinking it through I said yes.
That class unlocked and opened up something for me. I left the shala feeling lighter, my hamstring wasn't flaring up, and I had all these emotions I couldn't define flowing through. I didn't become a full on yoga addict straight away, it took time and exploration, every once in a while I would pop in for a class, and something always kept calling me back. Slowly I was letting go of boxing, the whole idea of my lifestyle up to that point, and I was starting to reinvent myself from a new point of view.
The more classes I took the more my injury was under control, until I could finally sit normally again and just about do anything that wasn't overly aggressive. I also have to give some credit to the physio I saw once whilst visiting Australia that summer. But yoga keeps it painless for everyday life. When I skip my sessions, the pain comes back as a reminder of the learnt lessons.
It took me a few years to completely let go off my boxing and truly turn to yoga. Since then, I have transformed, grown, fallen down, gotten up, become more aware of myself and realized how much I don't know as well, and learnt a solid fact-everything is and always will be changing, continuing to be an ongoing process. There is no end destination. Your practice is always evolving, your relationships are forever changing, your life is forever flowing.
Ps: photo credits to the beautiful Ivana Alfonso