I think the one thing about me that broke my mother's heart is that I completely lack any athletic ability. I mean, I am pretty okay at bowling but it seems unfair to call something you can do while drinking pitchers of beer a sport but I digress. My mother is athletic. She played basketball, softball and golfs. She is the head coach (and coach of the year!) of a high school softball team.
I, on the other hand, would rather eat glass than do any of those things. This is not for lack of effort on my mother's part, I played travel soccer and softball until I was in high school and discovered my true love, debate.
As an adult, I have taken to hiking, jogging occasionally to stay in shape. A shape anyhow. But those are things I do, not because I love running but because I love cake. There is, however, one thing I do just because I love it and it loves me back: yoga.
I found yoga accidentally. I was stressed out and burnt out from trying to get pregnant for 2 years and was at my wit's end. I was willing to try any and everything to have a baby and someone, somewhere mentioned yoga.
My first class was a disaster. It was hot. I was sweating. There were words I did not understand. I cried. But when the dust settled, I felt amazing. I felt less weighed down by my worries, I felt strong. I kept coming back. I cried a lot. It was a release and relief.
That was six years ago in July and I can say without hesitation that yoga transformed my life both externally and internally. I don't know if it helped me conceive (I am willing to put most of that blame on modern science and my excellent fertility team) but it did help me deal with the stress of that season of my life.
Now, I go to my studio and practice 4-6 times a week. I am looking to become a certified yoga teacher and I love my practice. Sometimes, my practice is still a disaster. I curse. I ache. I grit my teeth. I wish for death. But the practice of yoga gives me a new filter to see the world through. I start to see the beauty in nearly every person, including myself. It levels out my emotions and makes me feel strong.
Last year, I went on a yoga retreat with Beryl Bender Birch, one of the luminaries of American yoga, it was amazing. At the beginning she asked us what yoga is to us and why we practice. I said that somedays, making it to my yoga mat was like sliding into home plate.
See, mom? All those years playing sports weren't for naught.