A Mess on the Mat
“Messes are made by people who want but don’t know what they want, let alone how to get it.” ― Joyce Carol Oates, Expensive People
I was a mess. Like most teenagers, I was completely disconnected from my body. The last three years had been a full-blown roller coaster of hormones, weight gain and then weight loss, and for sure total loss of control. Since I was twelve, I had been in a love/hate relationship with my body, embracing my new curves, loving the look in the eyes of the young men around me, then desiring very much to hide, not ready for all that attention. I was self-conscious, anxious, and depressed.
Then I got this very special gift. On my 15-year-old birthday, my mom gave me a little box full of numbers and weird signs written on small pieces of paper. My mom is a huge fan of riddles, and always make sure we have fun (I’m being sarcastic here) guessing what our gifts are.
I finally came up with the answer, with a lot of help as I couldn’t make sense of that puzzle. My parents were offering me private yoga classes.
Oh dear. Back in the days, yoga wasn’t as popular as it is now in the teenager population. True to form, I clearly expressed my unhappiness about this unuseful gift (at 15, the only gifts I thought to be useful were clothes and money!). And it wasn’t just because I was being selfish. I felt bad my parents were spending money on something I didn’t want. (On that, I am still practicing my reaction when I receive a gift, I’m still really bad at it, but working on it and getting better at simply smiling and saying thank you.)
Now at 25, I know better, and I learned to trust my parents. They know me well. The yoga classes weren’t what I wanted, but they were what I needed. I didn’t became the yoga fan I am with those classes, but they planted the seed of yoga and serenity within me.
A Practice of Life
«Don’t live your life to do yoga. Do yoga to live your life.» – Hart Lazer, teacher of yoga teachers
From 15 to 18, I practiced here and there, taking a class from time to time, until I fell in love with the teachers at United Yoga Montreal. I took a summer intro pass, and I soon became addicted to the creativity of the practice, learning of the postures, and the peaceful feeling that comes right after you are done.
Through yoga, I rediscovered my body. It wasn’t anymore only about how it looked from the outside, there was also lots of things going on on the inside. Instead of feeling like a solid mass walking down the street, I discovered a space within, that was pretty much the same as the one on the outside. Life was all around me, but it was also within me, and it was the same energy all around. It wasn’t me against the world anymore, I was part of it, we were all parts of it, and my body was simply a container of that wonderful life.
Practicing yoga brings your whole life to another level. Showing up on your mat, no matter how you feel on that day, and in fact especially when you are not feeling like it, helps you develop self-discipline and greater knowledge of yourself. Yoga brings me back to home, everytime. What I learn on the mat I apply to life, and it is life that brings me to the mat to get that off time to reconnect with myself. As Hart Lazer, one of my teachers, says «Don’t live your life to do yoga. Do yoga to live your life.»
To Learn More About Yoga
For every yogi, no matter what level, here are three books I recommand you get:
- B.K.S Iyengar – Yoga Wisdom and Practice
- B.K.S Iyengar – Light on Yoga
- Linda Sparrowe – The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness