I started practicing yoga when I was in college. Well, to say practicing might be a stretch. I bought a yoga mat and attended a few classes on campus but didn’t really take it seriously. Every now and then I would find a video online, roll out my mat, and follow along to the cues the instructor called out. It wasn’t until many years later when I was searching for a way to heal the wounds of my soul from infertility that I felt the very real power of connection with my own physical frame when I showed up on my mat.
I am fortunate to have a yoga studio near my home. Not only is it a beautiful space but the owner and lead instructor is someone with a teaching style and message that resonates to me. She combines the beauty of this ancient practice along with the journey of the mind. As your body moves through the postures she guides you into, she always brings it back to show you how it is really your mind that is learning how to be more flexible, malleable, and forgiving, not just muscles and joints.
Yoga is all about learning how to quiet your mind and be present with yourself. Two things that were very hard for me to do during the height of my infertility experience when all I could think about was how much I wanted to scream and run from my situation.
But in yoga, that is not what you do. In yoga you learn to be present, you learn how to be still, you learn how to watch your mind and you learn the power of a single breath. You learn how to travel worlds upon worlds in your head, all while staying on a rectangular piece of padding. While all of that was taking place, I had a few things unfold for me that I wasn’t expecting to learn about myself in the process.
My body is amazing. I didn’t grow up with the most positive body image. I always believed there was something wrong with my body because I was bigger and taller than my older sister. I internalized a lot of negative feelings about what I was capable of based off of that. When infertility entered the scene I thought it was just another indicator of my physical shortcomings.
During yoga, all of that changed. When I was able to slow myself down and watch my mind I uncovered so many thoughts that weren’t serving me. Up until that moment I had taken them for truth. But when you learn that you are the creator of all of your truth you start to question why you were so mean to yourself thinking the things you did.
I learned I couldn’t hate myself into becoming a mother. However motherhood was going to happen for me, it would not be achieved if I kept thinking that my body was broken and there was something fundamentally wrong with me.
Possibilities are abundant, if you look for them. After years navigating infertility I had shut down to so many ideas of what was possible. With each month that passed I saw doors closing and opportunities lost. I was focused on the lack in my life. Lack of happiness, lack of time, lack of a baby. I compared my life to everyone around me and it never measured up.
In yoga, the only person you need to compare yourself with is the version you were yesterday. The person you are today can be completely different than who you were tomorrow and with that, the opportunities available to you are only attainable if you open up to them. Thinking about what you do not have will not create more of what you do want to have in your life.
When you show up for life, life shows up for you. I committed to practice yoga at least once a week and as I stepped onto my mat each class I felt something open up and allow the channels of grief and sadness to flow. In the rest of my life I covered up these elements really well. Highly functioning grief makes everything appear normal and fine, and yet you cry in the car when you are alone because you just can’t stop the tears.
Showing up for yoga was the start of me learning how to show up for myself. It taught me how important my needs are and how taking care of myself was the only way to get through infertility, let alone my entire life. No one else was going to assume that responsibility for me. I had to take it on for myself which started with me paying attention to what I put into my body for food, who I chose to spend time with, and the thoughts I allowed myself to think. Stepping back and taking stock of these things I became much more aware of how I was showing up in life and it was only then did the possibilities start to unfold for who I wanted to become.
Are you having trouble seeing what possibilities exist for you? Schedule a free strategy session and let me help you find them.