yoga is for everyone

monica046.jpg





here are a few pictures from a street yoga training i attended in february. one of the things i love most about teaching at yoga district is how committed they are to making sure that everyone who wants to practice can practice. each of their three location is a little different in set-up but each one has the same feeling. show up in whatever clothes you can, pay a reasonable price (drop-ins are only $10 and it's $70 to practice unlimited for a month) and reap the benefits of your practice. it's good yoga down to its barest bones and a lot of people have been responding (the yoga district groupon sold over 600--woah).

i am so passionate about yoga because of how it helps me to keep growing and facing all the scary spots that i so want to ignore at times. lately, i've been practicing my yoga off the mat in my family. people who are close to me know that my parents got a messy divorce when i was five and that i mostly lived with my mom until i left for college. when i was younger i was totally in love with my dad but then things changed after the divorce. my dad, who really did not want to be separated, became angry and depressed and that's when things started getting strained between us. we used to fight about everything from food habits (i was a vegetarian & he thought that was silly) to politics (we used to get into debates about abortion that would put me in tears when i was 10. we finally had to outlaw politics as a conversation topic because it was too emotional. welcome to the usa).

long story made shortish, i was also pretty angry and depressed too during this time. i gained a bunch of weight which made me feel even more awkward considering i was already the tallest person in my whole school for 6 years (and had the braces, the big plastic glasses--you name it and i displayed it in fully glory). i was also really shy to speak out in school and would even cry when my mom would tell me i had to go outside and make friends. i wanted to a cohesive, happy family and i was so upset to not be getting it.

then adolescence eased up on me a little. i started playing sports and lost weight and made good friends and little by little felt better about myself. i realized i was funny and fun and wrote well and liked taking pictures and could even speak in front of people. i didn't know it then, but i was starting this yogic path of self-love and acceptance that i am still walking and now figuring out that i will always be walking. it's amazing when you are on this path, how much things can change and how it can still stay the same. because even as i would tell everyone else that forgiveness and love were the way to a happy life, i was still carrying around a lot of resentment toward my father. our relationship has been loving but tense and every once in a while, it would erupt in an emotional outburst that would leave us both hurting.

so things have really been so great in my life in these past couple of years and i thought a lot of that stuff was gone and then last week, it came up again so quickly that it surprised me. this conversation was particularly bad and things that were said were pretty hurtful. so we agreed not to talk for a bit. during this time, i just had to look at how little this pain and resentment was serving either of us and in fact, probably hindering many of the things i do want in my life. i've looked at these things before but the draw to be right, to win was too strong so i always went back to feeling like a victim.

but this time was different. i felt so turned off by the way that i had acted and tired of coming back to the same place. i kept thinking that there just isn't time to live this way, not when life is so short and uncertain. so with fairly little drama, i made the decision that i didn't want it anymore and resolved to find forgiveness and acceptance.

and then we met for breakfast this weekend and it went really well. we both talked a lot over greasy diner food and had the chance to say what we were really feeling. there were moments when i could have gotten defensive but it just didn't have the same draw so i let it pass and just listened. i want shanti (peace) and now nothing else can substitute it and man, it's such a relief to let go of that load. and it's exciting to see where things can go with my dad now.

during this conversation, i also realized that along with my dad, i had been carrying a lot of resentment toward my younger self. i rarely ever tell anyone i used to be overweight and have thrown away many of the old pictures that showed me in family portraits larger than life next to my anorexic looking brother (i happily report that we have both found good body weights for ourselves these days). i think it felt too vunerable to let anyone else into that world and that it would show that i am not really as put-together as i pretend to be (note: i'm not but am learning how to happy about it). but in the process of this forced forgetting, i have been ignoring a lot of the benefit that this time gave me. this was when i really developed my imagination and my sense of compassion and humor and many of the other qualities that currently serve me quite well in my life and work.

i have been going through some old photos recently and fortunately, there are many good ones that remain. if i can get my scanner working again then i may be posting some of them here soon in the healing spirit of full disclosure.