There I was, standing in a forward bend watching tears drop on my yoga mat below my head and glad they were indistinguishable from the drops of sweat around them. It seemed like I couldn't get through a yoga class without crying. I wasn't sure why but the simple act of doing yoga would bring up waves of pent up emotion.
“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.” ― Kripalvanandji
My decade long marriage was ending and marriage counseling wasn't working. My recent discovery of yoga was a godsend. Yoga became my therapy; a safe place to go inside and feel what was true for me. The truth was I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt I'd passively handed over a decade of my life to a man I had little in common with because I was young and scared and he was older and wiser. I was turning 30 and I wanted my life back. I'd allowed the safety net of our marriage to close around me. All I could think about was getting free. That freedom came in the form of my daily yoga practice. My body and spirit craved it. On days my mind felt lazy, my body picked me up, grabbed my mat and drove me to class.
Just like the cliché, I told my husband that I was leaving to "find myself." I had no idea what that meant or where I was going. All I knew was that my marriage felt dependent on me staying the same woman and wife I'd been, and that was no longer possible.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means "union with the divine." During my marriage I had lost touch with my spirit, my divinity. Yoga reunited my body and mind with my spirit and has guided me back home to my soul countless times since the end of my marriage 10 years ago. What on the outside appears like a simple sequence of stretches can become a profound spiritual experience and metaphor for life. Every time I practice yoga I’m reminded of the truth of who I am. I’m also shown what I'm resisting, trying to muscle and control, and where I can relax, allow more space or surrender to in my body, and in my life.
“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.” ― Amit Ray
In a society of shiny objects, instant gratification and comfort seeking, I find it paradoxical that yoga studios are popping up in every town and people are flocking to them, eager to be with their discomfort-- hungry for a reminder of what's real and true.
“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion. A filling up.” ― Anne D. LeClaire
Although I’ve always been drawn to yoga for the spiritual aspects, there are numerous health benefits worth mentioning. Yoga improves your posture, increases your flexibility, strength, and balance, and lowers your blood pressure, I’ve recently been using it to manage stress, and calm my nervous system and adrenals.
Simply stepping inside a yoga studio feels luxurious and nourishing-- the warm, beautiful open space, the music, the encouraging and inspiring words from the teacher, the time you’ve allocated just for you, away from work and home. There is also a feeling of fellowship knowing everyone else is there for similar reasons-- to go inside, find some inner peace from the outer world and their monkey minds, to give themselves undivided attention, to heal their bodies and find their center again.
“Yoga will always be transformational, even when it stops being cool.”
― Victoria Moran
― Victoria Moran
As I embark on this quest for holistic health, yoga is a constant companion, a dear old friend and integral part of my physical and spiritual well-being. Yoga has gifted me with an aligned body and these questions that serve me daily: Where am I feeling resistance? What outcome am I trying to control or force? What would happen if, rather than avoiding the pain or resisting it, I created more space, surrendered the outcome and accepted the truth of the moment?
The answers are where you’ll find yourself.
Rosalyn Fay is founder and Producer of True Colors TV, an online inspirational video network for women. For the past four years she has been interviewing women with extraordinary stories of healing themselves and transforming their lives. She brings diverse women together for raw, bold, juicy conversations on her talk show True Talk and hosts powerful live events. Rosalyn grew up on farm in Opportunity, Montana but found her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she has worked as an alternative radio host and video producer. Visit her website,and twitter.