I'm back. I've been here, but I haven't posted because things have just been, well, kind of a tangled up mess. I'm going through an official rough patch right now. And because I consider it my job to aim to inspire, I wasn't sure I wanted to write when feeling less than inspired myself. I'm happy to report that hitting the yoga mat hard has helped, as both teacher and student. The usual negotiating of schedules, timing, etc. that I do in order to practice has fallen away, and it's felt almost effortless as I've been pulled to my mat by a force greater than me, to the only place where I don't feel the tangles tightening. Which makes it more non-negotiable than ever. Thank God for yoga.
Big Sky Yoga Retreats had a contest over the holidays where the topic was, How has Yoga Changed Your Life? I wonder how I'd be coping with my drama right now if I didn't have yoga. The gifts of a yoga practice keep on giving, no matter what, where or when. In need of inspiration in my present funk, I've been re-reading the lovely entries we received, especially from yoginis who joined us on retreat last year. Read on and be inspired by the entries from two amazing women that tied for first place:
Carole MacLean - Fall Yoga & Hiking Alumna
After my mom's yearlong illness and death last year, I began a journey of retrospection and self-discovery. Realizing the preciousness of life and the delicacy of love, I searched for balance by simplifying my work, my life, and my relationships. It was time to take my yoga practice of 5 years to the next level. I knew that it was through yoga that I could find a safe place to practice being both being grateful and staying in the present. It was through yoga that I could experience balance, peace, and solace while exercising my body and taking care of me. So I set an intention to get on my mat daily, and I joined my sister and five other incredible women for a week-long yoga and hiking retreat. With yoga starting and ending our days, and 5-6 hour hikes in between, I was able to experience breathtakingly beautiful examples of nature including elk, moose, deer, fuzzy rabbits, and the first snowfall. Even now, weeks after returning from that spectacular place, I can return to Montana while visiting my mat. My yoga practice has allowed me to go to a place where I can be still, content, and filled with peace. I may have lost my mom, but I found a new way of living - through yoga - and my life has been changed forever.
Meg DePriest - Mother's Day Weekend Alumna
I can't think of one aspect of my life, and the way I approach it, that has not been deeply affected by my yoga practice. Yes, my body is healthier than it has ever been before. But more meaningful to me is the solace I find for my soul. I walked away from my practice when I became pregnant. After realizing a year after my son's birth that I was lost in a cloud of depression, I came back to the mat. The quality of my life would have continued to decline if I hadn't. Mothering is a job accompanied by often overwhelming emotions: love, fear, joy, anger, guilt and pride among them. Returning to my practice has helped me to be a patient parent, to stop and breathe before acting, to monitor my emotions and reactions, and to rejoice in my son as he discovers the world and his place in it. My yoga practice ensures that I take care of myself as well as my family. The Mother's Day retreat I attended with my sister gave me a chance to step back, appreciate what I have, commune with other moms facing all the challenges I face, and it reminded me of how important my asana practice, my meditation, my breath work and my self-study are to my health as a woman and a mother. (And the fact that I emerged with a new yogi friend in Margaret was an added bonus.)
Thanks Carole and Meg. You can read all the winning entries here. Thanks also to Dude Girl for sponsoring our contest - our lucky winners received Dude Girl apparel.