I’ve been practicing yoga now for nearly ten years--a relatively short time compared to some, but a lifetime for me. The only other constants in my life for that long are my mama, my best friend, and New Orleans. My relationship with yoga has been a deep, wild affair from the start. I started practicing yoga in 2006, shortly after “The Katrina,” (as my Gretna friend calls it).
I was falling in love, but I wasn’t ready to commit. I went to classes fairly regularly, but I didn’t understand how to practice on my own, and I wasn’t really interested in that, to be honest. I liked going to class, having someone guide me, and being in the company of other sweaty, struggling bodies. I needed that external voice, and those external bodies, to encourage me to keep going.
I didn’t get serious about yoga until 2008. I had finally graduated from college (I was on the 7 year plan), moved back to New Orleans, and was trying to figure out what to do next. I was flailing, waiting tables full time at two restaurants, going out too often, drinking too much, sleeping too little. I had an inkling that I might want to teach yoga. And I figured if I was going to teach yoga, I should probably do a whole lot more of it.
So I started going to classes all the time, three or four times a week, and I finally, finally, started practicing at home. At first it was just a few Sun Salutations (and let’s be real, that’s often all I squeeze in even now.) And slowly, over time, I developed the capacity for a longer practice on my own. I learned to listen to myself, to hear the instructions of my teachers, to trust my own intuition. I found this thing called devotion. I still like to have a fancy cocktail every now and then, but my priorities have shifted.
My practice continues to evolve, and I don’t believe we’re ever finished, but for the most part, yoga is what brings me back to myself over and over. It’s the thing that holds up all the other parts of my life: my art-making, my relationships, the big picture, the minutia. It’s firmly rooted, stable, and solid. It has become my foundation. It’s not easy (as described in last week’s post), but it is truly transformative. I’m glad I’ve settled down.