Yoga saved my life. Okay, not literally. But it reached me where no one and nothing else could, and started to reel me back in. Well, I had no idea what yoga was doing, of course, or even that I needed a line, but my body did. The first time I tried yoga I was in Fort St. James - about 250 km northwest of Everything, living (so to speak) in small-town northern B.C., and working like there was no tomorrow, as a reporter in a one-person newsroom.
Being in the moment was not even a concept to me.
But the amazing thing about our physicality - and yoga - is that the body can experience what the mind has yet to put into words.
I was all brains and adrenaline, spending seven days a week chasing my dream to be a journalist, one idiom and adjective at a time. Headlines and deadlines. Nothing else mattered.
Until yoga woke me up.
It's like I was living in a perpetual storm without an umbrella or raincoat, and didn't even know it, and just for an hour I stepped out of it and undercover, and there was this instant of ineffable calm.
From that day forward, I sought yoga out in every town, city and country I visited. I grew a practice. I nurtured it through sunshine and inclemency. I became devoted to something, for the first time, whole-heartedly, because it made me believe - at first, in fleeting glimpses, and then more panoramic vistas which took my mind, body and breath away - that I was already, and always, whole.
Where it all began. I attended my first public
yoga class in Prince George, BC in 2001.
Yoga did not peddle a religion or rulebook. It inspired a unique brand of faith in which belief arose through insights gained first-hand by my own heart and head. So there were no compromises. Only choices, which simply arrived, when other ones lost their hold on me. I am talking about self-limiting beliefs, actions, activities, relationships; the ones that keep our pain of separation - from our own true nature and our essential wholeness -at bay. Yoga taught me that we must chase our pain back to its source, feel it again in our bodies, sit through the anger and tears and mind games with our own disillusioned child, and then surrender. Just let go. As many times as necessary.
Through the rise and fall of breath, yoga spoke to me in an ancient and pre-linguistic language which moved my soul in ways that felt innately natural. Now we tussle, play, dance the dervish, revisit old and unforgiving places, explore new dimensions and re-route the bungled pathways I still travel on sometimes between fiction and truth. We laugh. We cry. But through it all, my trust in yoga only grows. Wholeness is like the cycles of the moon: sometimes it waxes and sometimes it wanes, but it's always there, night or day, winter or summer, rain or shine. I've learned more about my self, human nature, Mother Earth, the galaxy, psychology, spirituality, people, politics, business, health and happiness from yoga, than from any book, course, job, goal or dream of living I ever had. Once, I believed that all I needed in life to be happy was my portable laptop (including wi-fi and online Thesaurus). Now, I travel with two soul companions: my trusty MacBook and my Manduka yoga mat. Yoga is my vocation, my ever-winding path, my teacher, my friend, and my lover - in whose eyes, is ever-reflecting that I, too, am lover and beloved.