Thirteen years ago, I took my first studio class and my life began to change. The fear of staying stuck, the fear of drowning in my misery, the fear of wondering if I’d ever truly be happy became unbearable.
Fear is no stranger of mine. I have been afraid of the unknown before. For the majority of my life, I can remember keeping myself small, limiting my mind, and feeling “fine” in my, "I'm about to explode if you look at me wrong, " tough exterior. In the past, I kept myself so confined to my limited beliefs that I convinced myself by the age of sixteen that I was never going to get married and I probably was going to die young.
I perpetuated my early childhood trauma unconsciously. Misery was a friend of mine.
My mind didn’t know that I wasn’t still in a crisis and my body, including my nervous system, stayed trapped in tension, stress, grief, and sadness.
As a child I was sick all of the time because of it. Of course I didn’t know then that that was what it was. Looking back now, my internal landscape was wrought with shame from the silence, guilt for wanting to talk about it, deep sadness for my Mother, and fear, big fear from it all.
Life seemed unbearably cruel for nearly the first three decades of my life.
In some of my biggest moments of despair, there was always some part of me that knew that my life was going to be more than just mediocre and tragic. I felt desolate and isolated in my self imposed prison but I also felt held and watched over, though I could never quite explain what that meant.
After giving birth to my first born Liliana, I could no longer cling so tight to my own sh*t. Sure, I could continue to be angry, empty, and closed off but why in the world would I want to?
I would hold my baby girl in my hands and think how selfish it would be for me to expose her to anything but love.
Mothering her walked me to a threshold, the biggest one of my life yet. This was my chance to really love. I had to walk through that door and let my heart take the lead.
What if I failed her?
Ultimately, it's my daughter's love that led me to the practice of yoga.
To be honest, I had previously received (numerous times) the whisper but it wasn't until I became a Mother, in charge of another soul's world, that I gave myself permission to finally begin to heal. It wasn’t just about me any longer.
I had read a story about Madonna practicing and for some strange reason that was a golden thread. I truly believed in my soul that yoga was the answer yet, I had no idea what that entailed. No one in my surrounding circle practiced yoga. At the time, I had no one to talk to about this calling. The problem was, I wasn’t much into taking risks and I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone for fear of being vulnerable and ultimately rejected. I knew that it was going to require me to fully show up. This calling was pushing me to an edge.
I had created a safe and comfortable container for my sadness, fear, and grief. I let it disempower me and keep me small. I believed this was the way to avoid more pain.
My soul knew better though.
As a new Mother, I was so over myself and my misery, I knew that something had to change. So I did the thing. In November 2009, right after Thanksgiving, I took my first studio practice. I opened myself up to healing the moment I had her and now, it was time to double down on that mission. I felt like my life depended on it. I needed everything that a yoga practice provided. I was so hungry to meet my true self. I allowed my vulnerability to break through while tears streamed down my face at the closing of that first class. I felt like I finally had come home.
My heart led me to the very thing I'd been craving. Me.
The great poet Rumi wrote, "let the wound be the place where the light enters you". That day, I allowed the light to finally meet the shadow of some of my biggest fears.
This wasn't an overnight process but it was a new beginning.
Over the last thirteen years, I’ve been a dedicated student. I live and breathe as much yoga as I can. I love it now more than ever. It has brought so much to my life that I can’t imagine what my world would be like without it. I’m eternally grateful that the practice found me and that in the end, I’ve found my true nature.
It’s true what they say, love really does triumph over fear but, only if we allow ourselves to openly accept it. When you let it, love will pour in and the light will find and soothe the darkest parts of who you perceive yourself to be. This union of the shadow and the light is what Yoga is all about.