I was a mess. I was heartbroken. I thought the sky had fallen around me. I was curled up, in my bed, in clothes multiple days old, surrounded by dirty dishes that held copious amounts of cheese items (cheese dip, cheese & crackers, cheese cubes, cheesecake, etc). Something had to give, immediately.
A best friend of mine drove over and crawled in bed with me. She laid there for half a day or so, she watched me cry and eat cheese, she listened to my spewed heart pieces as they fell from my lips. And then, she didn’t. She was not going to stand for this, she knew it wasn’t who I was. So up I went, dressed in some old work out clothes back from my middle school track days, into her car, and then into a dimly lit lobby of a hot yoga studio. I was surrounded by a sea of people all quietly sitting on mats in a sweltering room with small grins on their faces as they lay down or sit staring at something I obviously couldn’t see. I asked my friend if I had to take my socks off, she chuckled, “Yes, please take off your socks”. What was this? Why am I here? Can I leave now? How long will I be here? Why is it so damn hot in here?
My first heated vinyasa flow class was taught by a teacher who probably doesn’t even know my name or how he affected my life, but I know his – Jesse. At that time he liked to add arm balances to his classes (probably still does), and this class was not any different. I looked over at my friend with wildly confused eyes as I tried to comprehend what everyone was doing trying to perch themselves solely on their arms to look like a crow. And why was it so hot in here? Summer had just ended, why do people still want heat?! When he cued half pigeon, I just lost all of the grasp I had on what I thought yoga was and how this was even possible. Thoughts of why there are so many bird named poses in yoga started to enter my mind. In savasana, I felt small trickling tears running down my cheeks. These tears were different. Not sad, my-life-is-over, there’s-nothing-left tears. But rather tears of hope, small hope, but hope. I couldn’t tell you what quote Jesse read, or what inspirational words he spoke, and he probably could have said anything as it wasn’t so much the spoken words as much as it was the self-love and awakening and supportive environment that I had just discovered. Of course, I didn’t know this then.
I haven’t been back to Jesse’s class since, and now writing this, I realize I should go back – I will.
Sometimes, when I just look around the yoga studios that I’ve learned to call home, or when I scroll through my Facebook feed full of yogis I’m overwhelmed by the amount of joy and support I see around me. Not only has yoga healed me, but this community continues to lift me up and amaze me with its unending amount of love, support, and happiness. Some say, that in order to be successful you should surround yourself with successful people… the same goes for happiness, and I’ve found that within yoga and it’s community.