I came to yoga at a time when my self-doubt and fear had scarred me not just mentally, but also physically.
My self-initiated stress caused a sore to form in my stomach, which could lead to an ulcer. I was unable to eat anything but the blandest foods. The doctors told me to “just stop stressing,” but the hole in my stomach was only adding to my stress. I needed to do something proactive for myself. I had tried talking about my problems, but that only made me focus more on my past when what I really needed to do was find a way to be present.
I studied yoga in college and had a basic understanding of how it helped my physical body stretch out and relax. I did it at the Rec center a few times and had my first few experiences with meditation. But I never did it regularly.
On a particularly gray day for me in August, I got the urge buy a yoga pass at a studio in Kent. My online search told me there were a few options, but only one that really called out to me: One Love Yoga in Kent. It was still under construction, and they were not sure when it would be finished.
I followed the progress on Facebook, and grew a bit restless. I didn’t know how long I could wait. But finally, they posted a status that the doors were open, and I purchased my first unlimited monthly pass a few days later.
One Love is a heated studio, and it took some time to adjust to the hot air pumping through my lungs. But the heat took my practice to another level. Along with the sweat, my worries poured right off of my shoulders. The heat brought a kind of relaxation I had never felt with non-heated yoga. The challenge of matching my breath with movement and staying balanced gave me no other choice but to keep my mind “in the moment.”
Those first few months were challenging but so exciting as I mustered up the courage and strength to move from only basics classes to slow flow, then vinyasa flow, then power vinyasa.
The teachers have helped me on my journey in many different ways, whether it’s through humor, coaching or reassurance.
I used to laugh when teachers told me to go into poses like crow and tripod headstand during those first few months. Now, after doing yoga at One Love for six months, I have the self-trust and love to try those challenging poses, even if I fail.