3 lessons from 12 years of yoga.
I’ve been practicing yoga — with varying degrees of devotion — for over 12 years. Basically, since I was 15 years old.
I wish I could tell you that I “discovered” yoga in a dizzy haze of bliss at a mountain-top reggae festival with a gaggle of sun-kissed friends and the guidance of a guru named Snuggle Moonshine Bear.
But no. I came to yoga, as so many of us do, because my body was in crisis, my life was at stake, and there was nothing left to try.
At 15, I was blinking back into reality after starving myself down to 94 pounds in the visegrip of anorexia. My doctors told me that ballet and running (my self-medications of choice) were out of the question. My emaciated body and weakened heart wouldn’t be able to handle the stress.
They suggested yoga. Gentle yoga. An hour a day, tops.
And so, I found myself on the mat. Studying the delicate art of not hating myself. Coming back to life.
Feels like many, many lifetimes ago.
Still makes me cry.
And here I am, countless sun salutations later. With a little more wisdom. And a lot more hope.
In honor of being alive, I give you:
3 lessons from 12 years of yoga
1. There’s no substitute for showing up.
It doesn’t matter what you’re creating — a book, a business, a yoga practice, an entirely new way of being in your body — you can read every guide, take every course, watch every tutorial, hire every expert, research and vision-board and dream and scheme. But there’s no replacement for showing up, facing your fears, and doing the work.
2. Devotion is an action, not an emotion.
Want to know what you’re devoted to? Look at your calendar. Examine how you actually spend your time on the planet.
If you “can’t find the time” for an hour of yoga three times a week — or whatever else you claim that you really want to do — that’s fine. Do something else. Read a book. Fly a kite. Learn to crochet. Host a tea party. But don’t kid yourself — it’s tiresome. Be honest about what you’re really devoted to.
3. You are stardust.
Joni Mitchell wasn’t kidding. The foundational elements of your body — carbon, nitrogen and oxygen — were literally synthesized in the deep interior of ancient stars, billions of years ago. Stars that shattered and gave birth to planet Earth — to paraphrase NASA astrophysicist Michael Loewenstein.
Think about that whenever you question whether you’re good enough, beautiful enough, talented enough. Worthy of what you want.
You are extraterrestrial, super-celestial, the walking descendent and living heir of a luminous sphere.
You are light, time, the cosmos itself.
You hold God Power. The power of absolute creation.
I’ll namaste to that.