How yoga and a fiery redhead helped reveal my soul



On a Saturday in June of 2014 I walked in to Hot Box Yoga broken inside, screaming for answers, questioning myself; feeling things far from compassion for the decisions I had made with my life.

I sat on the floor, five months off of a traumatic break-up, waiting for class to start, trying not to think about my emotions. For months all I could see of Jon and all I let myself recall was his worst. I replayed our last night together over and over in my mind; how he cried, how I felt numb and shocked at the earth shattering realization that love, my love, was not enough. I stared at the gray carpet, hypnotized, heavy with the burden of running wild with my heart; I had eased into a habit of kicking my heart around with an unwavering indifference. I could barely look at myself in the mirror. however, a goddess loomed behind me.

Karen walked into the room, I had never seen anything quite like her; a petite woman, dressed in bright layers, purring and playful. She spoke of co-creating and being kind to every part of yourself; she introduced me to the word Purna. By the book, Purna is a Sanskrit word meaning “complete”, I was taught it was much stronger and all encompassing than that. Purna is life force, living energy, the full spectrum of life and love, not only driving completeness but encompassing it. During my first yoga class, I felt meditative, self-aware, closer to this person I had been avoiding, myself.

One day, I spoke with Karen, she told me about how happy she was to have my energy in class. I was taken aback, shocked; I had been trying to blend into the background, mind my own business, what was she saying about energy? How was she still able to see me? How did she know me?

I dove into yoga, head first. Each class passed slowly, with an ebb and flow. The heavy air, allowed me to pick apart my mind and consciously separate myself from the stories I encountered and internalized through work. I truly believe that before yoga, I had never really felt my entire body or all of its potential. Although I have practiced mixed martial arts for nineteen years and grew up playing softball and running and swimming, it had never entered my mind just how intricately the body, mind, and heart, are connected. I found solace in my muscles and picked my heart up off of the ground, cradled it inward. I finally learned how to breathe; slowly, like a sleeping baby or an amazing first kiss; always, deliberately going back for more.

I began to practice the conscious kindness I had been introduced to by Karen, began to see kindness as a valuable trait, something to lead me away from isolation. In disagreements and feelings of anger, I would think of Karen, her voice echoed in my head, consistent and Christ like. If I needed to be calm, she would chant loving words in the corners of my mind until they floated over my whole body and seeped into my heart.

One day, it hit me all at once, the liberation of enlightenment, the power of my mind. During a playful class, guided by soothing live music, we neared the end; as I sat with my legs crossed, minutes away from shavasana, I thought of Jon. With eyes closed and constant breath, I ventured back; time didn’t exist, but he and I did. As my body rose and I sat up straighter, I saw myself in love. A release washed over me. I was walking back from the laundry room outside his apartment on a peaceful afternoon; I felt the cold cement stepping stones beneath my feet as I spoke to his cat Simba. I breathed out and I was sitting in the bath tub with Jon; effortless and content. I breathed in and I had just walked into his room on a Friday night after an especially long day of work; I felt his chest as I wrapped my arms around him and kissed his neck. His hands met mine. Music filled my ears, tears slipped slowly down my face; Hayward became more concrete as I was filled with good, forgiveness, and acceptance.




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