The first yoga class I ever took was at Marlboro College when I was nineteen.
I hated it.
I felt self-conscious and awkward. My body didn’t do the things the teacher was urging us to try. I had trouble concentrating on my breath. I couldn’t stop the constant waves of thoughts coursing through my mind.
I didn’t try again for nearly ten years.
But a decade later when I made it to that first class in Santa Monica I still felt awkward and insecure. But I felt something else too. Something that would change my life for years to come. I walked into this class during a particularly rough period of my life. A relationship I was in was deteriorating and I was overloaded with a full time job and a master’s program. I was desperately searching for something to quell the constant buzzing in my head.
Walking home after that class I felt the tiniest sensation of relief. A hint of serenity. My mind was relaxed for the first time in weeks. The anger and frustration that I was constantly carrying around inside of me, all that self-hatred and despair, had been replaced by space. I felt like I could breathe again. It was an addictive feeling and the very next morning I found myself back in another class. I went the day after that too. In fact, I went to yoga almost every day that week. The growing feeling inside of me was too good to let go of.
Before long I was going to yoga 3-4 times a week and the effect this had on me was profound. Yoga seeped into every aspect of my life and gave me the courage and the tools to confront parts of myself I had been afraid to acknowledge for many years. But along that journey were a hundred funny moments. Poses that I fell over during, yoga lingo I didn’t understand, weird yoga retreats with strangers who became friends, and all along was the recognition that I was on a quest for something I didn’t quite understand.
This last week, reading Suzanne Morrison’s excellent memoir Yoga Bitch was like reliving that journey. I put this book down feeling as though I either could have written parts of it myself or like I could at least be BFFs with the author. Yoga Bitch isn’t just a book for yogis; rather it’s a book for seekers, for those of us who know there’s more out there, even if finding it means giving up everything about who you thought you were in order to become who you always wanted to be.
Yoga Bitch brought up a hundred memories of my own awkward, floundering journey into this beautiful, spiritual practice, and Suzanne made me laugh out loud a dozen times with her recounting of the same. I thought it was so great that I had to share it with you. And by share, I mean literally share. Read the rules below and enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself!
WIN: A copy of Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison. Courtesy of Random House.
TO ENTER: Just leave a comment telling me about your relationship with yoga. Hate it? Love it? Scared of it? Addicted?
- No duplicate comments. (In other words: NO CHEATING)
- You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents, aged 18 and older.
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- Contest ends 9/1/11