My 40th birthday was quickly approaching, and I had started to contemplate (obsess over), getting older. I wanted someone to wave a magic wand and stop the ageing process. Of course, that wasn't going to happen.
One of my best friends is a yoga instructor and she suggested that I try a yoga class.
"It is a great way to keep your body limber and strong," she told me over a coffee one morning.
"That sounds like just what I'm looking for," I replied.
When I first started doing yoga it was all new to me. We were welcomed by a teacher, who was to guide us through an array of different body movements.
"Put your left foot forward, inside right hand," she quietly instructed. "Now, right foot behind the left foot."
To be honest it felt like I was playing a game of Twister with myself! I found the whole practice rather boring. I much preferred being egged on by a coach while boxing or weight training. I liked to get my heart pumping and sweat it all out. I'm afraid this adult version of Twister wasn't cutting it! Leaving the yoga class, I felt deflated and confused. How could anyone enjoy this as a workout? At that moment I never wanted to step foot in a yoga studio again in my life.
Still, there was a part of me that was curious about what everyone in the class was talking about. I also saw it as a challenge. So, I continued to go Monday, Wednesday and Sunday mornings. I still didn't really get it, but at least it allowed me some "mum-time" away from the children.
At the end of the class, the yoga teacher would encourage us to lie on the floor in silence. It is called "Shavasana," but I called it "nap time!" At the end of each session, the instructor would then put her hands in a praying position near his heart, bend forward and say, ‘Namaste'. We would then mirror the gesture and repeat the word back. She explained that it meant, ‘The light in me, sees the light within you” I wanted to say, ‘Phew I'm glad that's over,' but I didn't want to be disrespectful.
One Sunday morning I went again to escape the chaos of my busy household. The groceries had just been delivered, all the children were demanding breakfast, the laundry was begging to be washed and the bathroom needed a good clean. When I got to class, I felt grateful to be there.
Then as the session progressed, I was surprised that I was fully engaged and totally present in the activity. Every movement seemed different than usual as I felt a heavy weight lift off my shoulders. Suddenly I felt incredibly calm. What was happening to me? When we laid on the floor for Shavasana instead of having a nap, I focused on my breathing and went into a deep relaxation. As usual, at the end of the class, the yoga teacher put her hands in a praying position towards her heart and said, "Namaste". It was like I had heard it for the first time. When I repeated the gesture and said the word back, I expressed it with a deep sense of gratitude. I nearly started to choke up with emotion as I felt my mind, body and soul unite as one for the first time.
Following this experience, I felt revitalised and rejuvenated. My Monday morning yoga session was just as meaningful, and I really felt in tune with the rest of the students and the yoga teacher. As a result, I had the best day I can remember having in ages. It all started to make sense to me.
When I told my yoga friend about my revelation, she said something I won't forget.
"Yoga is not a workout, it is a way of life"