The first time I attended a yoga class I was young, unmarried and pregnant.
A failure at proper life planning, I was determined to be a champion fetus incubator by eating nutritious foods and exercising. During the session, I stretched with other yogis for an hour and ended the class on my back in a mediation that quickly became a drooling, power nap. I headed home afterward not completely sure why yoga was such a big deal.
Six years later, I joined the Lansing Derby Vixens. After weeks of being tossed around on the track, I was offered the opportunity to practice yoga again. I was told that it would strengthen my core, prevent injury and help settle any mental noise clamoring for attention. As a working mother of three children, wife, skater and volunteer, I had some internal (and external) ruckus.
I was delighted to find that Just B Yoga was tucked away in my own little neighborhood. After a short bike ride, I walked into a heated room in the middle of summer and chose an available mat. Belinda or “B.” owner and instructor, started the music and led us all through a challenging practice. It was there, with sweat beads rolling down my shinbone that I fell in love with yoga.
This beautiful body of mine suffered tremendously when I was too young to protect it. I then grew to misunderstand the way it was intended to love or serve my spirit. I made love to my husband and gave birth to three precious children. Even after those gifts, I did not honor the mechanism that allowed me to physically create and sustain life.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I now use my practice to write my battle-weary body a love letter. I love the palms of my hands as I peer up at them. When B. says, “Reach with your heart…” to help us correct our pose, I imagine that I am reconnecting my heart with my injured body.
I do not love my body because it is perfect. I am aware of my imperfections. I have days where the scars of my childhood swell and ache. I have a history of clothing that no longer fits and then fits again. I am not immune to the Photoshopped and airbrushed images we as women are told we must emulate.
I carry my brokenness into the studio and pour them from my heart onto a mat where a new beginning is given with every single breath. Namaste.