To those who haven’t practice yoga, I think it can be seen by some as a glamorised class for the ladies-who-lunch set to laze on the floor before ducking off for a quick skim latte. To those people, I would like to offer for them to accompany me to a Vinyasa flow class where we sweat, strain and struggle through 90 minutes of what (at times) feels like a form of extreme torture; but at the end is the perfect antidote to all of life’s problems.
I was not long out of hospital after a head injury when I went to my first yoga class and I had no idea I was about to embark on a journey that would see me practising different of types of yoga and meeting all types of yogis around the world. I have met the hard core, tattooed green juice chugging vegans; the airy fairy spaced out hippies, the intense Ashtanga crew; the yoga Mums head to toe in pristine Lululemon; the granny’s who just like the time at the end of practice to take a quick nap and the teacher-in-training students who like to ask a lot of questions throughout practice.
During my time practising yoga, I have learnt a lot of life lessons while lying on my rippled purple hunk of rubber.
I have learnt that no matter how expensive your yoga gear is, no matter how your new your crop top shows just the right amount of skin, yoga can slap you hard in the face when you least expect it. It will choose the exact moment that you become cocky to nudge you out of your crow pose straight onto your forehead against the hardwood floor. It will decide that the day you feel your best is the perfect day to challenge you in ways you never thought possible. It will be a frustrating, check-your-ego-in-at-the-door temptress who at times, you love to hate.
On the flip side, yoga will carry you through your darkest moments as you lay in the darkness of Savasana with hot, silent tears streaming down your face. It will allow heartbreak to be purged out of you as you sweat and shake allowing you to finally (finally) achieve that pose that has challenged you for years. It will carry you back to health as you struggle through the slowest, gentlest of practices wishing you could just climb back into bed already. It will keep you company in the quiet hours of morning when you can’t sleep; thoughts, words, conversations playing over and over in your head.
One day it will be your worst enemy, the next your best friend. And I think that is why people become hooked, some might even say obsessed. You never know what is in store for you each day as you place your feet hip width apart on your mat and look down at your toes. You take a deep breath and hope for the best, because this time, this time it will be different to any other day you have practised. This time it might be better or who knows – worse than your last time - you never know with yoga. You will never know what it has in store for you today or tomorrow but what you do know for sure is that you will keep coming back today and tomorrow to just find out.