The Unlikely Yogi
I’m not exactly your typical yogi. When I’m stressed out and need to blow off steam, I grab a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes. I’ve tried a few yoga classes over the years—any exercise involving a ten minute nap at the end is my idea of a good workout session. But I’m the one in the class who likely ate a cold piece of pizza for breakfast. It’s probably fair to say that I’m an unlikely yogi. Basically I’m the Bridget Jones of the yoga world, and this is my diary.
I’ve always been a thinker, and I often get more caught up with what’s happening in my head than with what’s in front of me. I, like many other people who do this, realized I had been living in a world of fear, control, anxiety, and even delusion. I often felt I was being held captive in my mind with my captor as my ego. For years I’ve been digging at the foundation looking for a way to escape. So I have challenged myself to get my ‘Om’ on this summer. After an intense year of journalism school, which included hours upon hours of sitting and lots of stress, I discovered it was becoming more difficult to keep my cool, think clearly, and stay in the moment, and the lady at the liquor store was getting to know me by name. I started doing some research about easing stress and keeping a healthy mind and body. Lo and behold, guess what kept popping up? Yoga and meditation. I decided that it was time for me to stop doing yoga and start to actually practice it and incorporate the philosophy into my life.
I’m going to commit myself to studying the Yoga Sutras, attend regular classes, and yes, even try meditation. I use the world try because in the past I have proven to be terrible at this. Turning off my mind is a daunting task that I just can’t seem to do. My meditation usually consists of fantasizing about myself as someone who can meditate and how great I’ve become at staying cool when people cut me off on the highway. I’ve been reading a lot about meditation and mindfulness, and the idea of it makes so much sense. Doing it makes me want to scream. I can handle studying the sutras and going to classes, but meditation is going to be a bitch. If I truly want to make my escape though, it’s time for me to do the work. As Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”
Luckily, I’m not in this alone; you’re all going to be a part of it too. I’ll be writing about my experiences over the next couple of months. Those of you who are new to yoga too, we’ll start our journey down this path together. For those of you who are seasoned yogis, we hope you’ll be our guides, share with us your words of wisdom, and shine a light when we take a wrong turn and end up in the dark.
For all you yogis out there, what drew you to your practice? And what advice do you have for someone who is just starting out?