Processed with VSCO with q5 presetTo me, yoga is multifaceted; it is a physical practice as well as a spiritual awakening and self discovery. Yoga has become so much more than a physical practice to me and I am sure that most everyone who has does yoga regularly will agree. It has opened up my world and my heart to acceptance and love of self, and healing of my mind, body, and soul. That sounds cliché, I know. But it’s the honest truth.

So back-story, at the end of 2015, I had gone through a terrible break up. To spare the details, I was devastated and blindsided by the whole ordeal. I was young when I fell in love with him and that relationship was the first real love I had ever felt. I didn’t realize at the time that it was simultaneously the most destructive love I had ever felt (for both of us). Though not all of the relationship was bad, ultimately being so young and not knowing any other love really, we lost ourselves in one another. I couldn’t function without him, because I was solely dependent on him and his feelings and not realizing that I had lost myself along the way.

Around the same time, I had also just graduated college and didn’t have my nursing license so I couldn’t technically get a job. I was in that typical “I have a degree, 30k debt, no job, and am about to move back to my parent’s house” phase that so many millennials go through. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. I felt like I had nothing. I felt worthless. I had SO MUCH self-loathing. I had no confidence in myself or in my abilities. I cried way too much and binge watched way too many Netflix shows. At my worst point, it was hard to even force myself out of bed, because it seemed easier than facing my demons.

My best friend, who is very athletic, upbeat, and headstrong, said to me one day in January of 2016, “Come to this yoga class with me.” It wasn’t a question. So she and I went to this super tiny studio in our hometown, it was a first for both of us. And man, that first class rocked my world. It happened to be a Baptiste power yoga style studio and I had no idea what I was in for. The teacher there was genuine, loving, inspiring, and crazy excited about yoga and the studio was warm and inviting. I started going 3-4 times a week. At first it was merely because it was a reason to get out of bed and up until college I had always been super active. So I loved this new physical strain it put on my body. I was finally being challenged and making new goals for my physical body was the perfect way to challenge myself even more.

Then one day as I was in savasana crying my eyes out on my mat, I realized that yoga was more than the physical asanas; it had opened my heart to healing without my even noticing. Yoga gave me the opportunity to not only grow stronger physically but also allowed me to get REAL with myself. It has taught me not only self-acceptance, but really, self-LOVE. So I practice for all these reasons and more. I have learned love, grace, and kindness through yoga. I practice because I am thankful for what yoga has provided me with and taught me over the last 1.5-2 years. I practice because I know I have more to learn and there is always room for growth.

What does yoga mean to you?

With love, B.

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