I Used To Walk Out Of Yoga Classes…Now I Namastay.
I was to stay there 4 days, and volunteer in the kitchen. I needed time, silence and space to sort out my head. I was turning 31, and I was nowhere near where I wanted to be in life. My dream of being a mother was torn away from me, and there was no happily ever after staring me in the face.
Early, on the third morning I was at Vipassana meditation centre, I awoke with an intense anxiousness I had not felt since arriving there. Until then, I was enjoying the dense, white snow up north, crisp quiet air on my walks and humble, yet delicious vegetarian food. Why did I all of a sudden want to leave so badly?
I swayed with the idea of telling the manager that I was going to leave a day early. My thoughts danced from whether I was being disrespectful or would not be honouring myself if I didn’t listen to my heart.
I called him to tell him I was coming home early, though got his voicemail and told him there instead. I was about 90 mins north of home, a place where we had lived together, and apart, though this time we were ready. This time, we were coming into it consciously, and ready…at least that’s what I thought.
I was on the 401, and soon approaching my exit. It was my birthday and I was strangely excited to come home and be with him as opposed to being in silence, in meditation and surrounded by strangers. He called, and as our brief conversation was wrapping up he told me he was leaving work early and would be home just before me. He sounded strange, but I still couldn’t wait to see him.
As I entered the apartment and looked around, I noticed my things were all packed up. My clothes, jewelry boxes and candles were in garbage bags. My toiletries replaced with his. I was so confused. I was enraged. Who touched all of my things, who would pack up all of my stuff on my birthday, and where did they think I was going??
He walked in the apartment and swore he had packed everything up to ‘clean’ the apartment. He didn’t even have the strength to admit what he was doing. A common theme over the 2 and a half years we struggled together.
But I was too proud, and rightfully so! I hand-bombed all of my clothes, and all of my garbage bags, one by one into the elevator. I was screaming, crying and completely heart-broken. I have never wanted to exit somewhere so quickly in my adult-life.
When I got to the lobby, I called my best friend, Faith, and she immediately knew I needed her. She welcomed me into her home for the next 4 months, but first, she took me out for dinner for my 31st birthday.
In times of complete despair, when I’ve felt broken and fucked up, I’ve always looked for the ‘reset’ button. I need to reinvent myself, or become a pro at (fill in the blank)…I would turn on ‘Power Cass’ mode, which in hind-sight meant major fight-or-flight mode.
The first thing I did was pitch CTV. I needed to book a segment and prove to the world that I was successful. I landed it, a valentine’s special on ways to increase libido in your training – though, I had never felt more A-sexual.
Next, join a hardcore gym and train 4-6 days per week – basically get jacked and be the baddest looking bitch around. Well, all I got was an injury that had me bed-ridden and barely able to walk without someone’s help. Frustrated doesn’t begin to explain how I felt.
I was inflamed, anxious, angry and needed something, anything to help me find peace in my heart.
I turned to yoga, which felt kind of natural to me because I had been entrenched in yogic philosophies and spiritual learning for many years. Though, in the physical sense, I solely wanted to get stronger, more powerful and feel protected. I wasn’t really interested in softening, opening or becoming vulnerable.
I didn’t know that consciously then. I believed I was going to all of a sudden find tranquility simply by finding the right teacher at the Downward Dog studio. How terribly wrong was I…
I would walk in the studio, and immediately feel out of place. I felt like everyone there knew I was broken and anxious. I looked at each person and wondered what their life was like. Were they at peace? Did they burn incense in their home and cook with joy? Were they in love, both with themselves and someone else? I felt like yogis had something that I wanted but I didn’t know how to achieve it. I didn’t even know what that was.
I would start to get ‘the itch’ about 15 minutes into the class. I’d begin making excuses; the teacher was too ego-centric, I didn’t like how they spoke, the clothes everyone was wearing was too trendy, they shouldn’t have been playing music. The list went on, and on, and on, until I felt like I would burst into tears or scream if I stayed one more second. My 30 day commitment to yoga fell short. I had left early almost every class and finally admitted to myself that I HATED yoga.
That saying “you are in life who you are on the mat” couldn’t have been more true.
I hated myself for not being farther in my career than I was, I hated that my studio ‘failed’, my relationship failed, my attempt at being a mother failed and my dream of having a family was in the dump, too. My physical body was giving me signals that stemmed from my mind and that’s where the work lied, though I was unwilling to see, or admit that.
For years after, my story was “I loathe yoga, it’s not for me” – and even though I continued to get injured in the gym, year after year, month after month, I wouldn’t open up and give yoga another try.
It wasn’t until one afternoon when I was on the table at my osteopath’s office. She had been treating me for years and was hopeful that the work she was doing on my digestive system would stick. Though, my nervous system was so triggered that often what she did to open up and unravel the tension that was a physical manifestation of the years of abuse, trauma, neglect, pain and addiction, would just tighten right back up again.
How was I supposed to heal, teach others to heal, take the next step in my life if I don’t put my ego aside and just try?
She said “I think it’s time you did exercise that is more restorative than depleting…Open up instead of contract…”
I took her advice and began taking yoga classes.
I was there, on the mat, warming up in a class that I didn’t wonder who each person was or how peace, incense or love intertwined in their lives. I was focused on me, my breath, my bones, my tissues, my heart.
In one of our first twists, I sat there with my eyes closed as they filled with tears. My body was thanking me for loving it. For finally opening up, and letting go of the need protect myself. I felt my hips open, my digestive system lighten up…I felt my heart swell and spine lengthen. I was in. I stayed. I was grateful.
Yoga for me has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than the simple desire to slow down, respect my body and it’s needs and nurture my nervous system because it’s obviously what it needs in a world that has no mercy should you not create strong boundaries.
It may be that I’m in a communicative, loving and respectful relationship, or that I am proud of my accomplishments and career .. It may also be that I’ve forgien others and myself and have come to terms with the decision of not wanting to be a mother and am 100% ok with that. Whatever the reason is, I am so fucking happy to be the girl who does not walk out of the yoga class anymore…I namaste.