I remember feeling scared and worried a lot as a very young girl. From the moment I’d wake up in the morning for school, until I got home I was nervous. Nervous about myself, about others, about the world around me. I was fortunate enough to experience wonderful things like friendship, sisterhood, sports, music and writing…but I never felt like I knew who I was. A part of that feeling came from growing pains (literally and metaphorically). However, a larger part of that stemmed from a fear of discovering who I was and learning to accept myself fully. I am 24 years old and I am just learning to do that. A major part of my self- discovery was catapulted by PYC.
When I first joined PYC last summer, I came into the studio every day for several weeks with that same sense of fear, anxiety and self-consciousness. Eventually though, it became really difficult to keep up that way of being, once I knew what was possible. What was and is possible is total self-acceptance, freedom, and a higher level of consciousness. Basically, my brain was turned off autopilot and I felt awake for the first time ever. I realized that I no longer had to suffer, because I could choose how I felt, who I surrounded myself with and how I led my life. The greatest gift I have received from yoga is the ability to accept all challenges in my life, while also accepting myself.
When my dad passed away a few years ago, I completely shut off. I still functioned like a “regular” person. I went to university, had a long-term relationship, worked out, went out and had adventures. However, I wouldn’t let myself fully experience what I was going through. Whether it was a positive emotion or a negative one, I’d do my best to neutralize it upstairs so that I wouldn’t feel too much. I kept a peaceful appearance, but I was screaming inside. The pain of that loss was far too much for me to comprehend, so I simply hid inside myself for a while. It’s taken me many yoga classes, cry fests, temper tantrums and talks to realize that I deserve to be happy and healthy…and sometimes that means addressing the most painful things. I can now say that I love myself through thick and thin, and this new appreciation has expanded my capacity to love others unconditionally.
Some of the teachers at the yoga studio say that at some point in your practice and in your life, you will learn to “drop the struggle.” I remember hearing that in class and thinking to myself…easy to say, difficult to do. However, it wasn’t something that required a real effort. It just took patience, persistence and dedication to my wellbeing. One day I was on the train to work and it dawned on me: I don’t have to make everything so hard. It’s literally that thought that I haven’t been able to shed. Stop seeing every workday, relationship, workout, or piece of bad news as another mountain to climb. It’s merely an opportunity to use your inner strength and show how resilient and calm you can be in the centre of the storm. That display of power builds an immense amount of confidence, and with that confidence comes self-love, courage and determination.
I am a work in progress, but I like it. I like not knowing exactly who I’ll be or how I’ll feel when I leave this world. We never stop evolving as human beings and we never stop learning about ourselves and others, if we so choose. I’m happy I’ve made the choice to let myself grow and become the best version of myself that I can be so that I can contribute better to the world around me. I truly want to thank PYC for taking me in like family and for showing me what’s possible. The kindness and connection are invaluable to me. I look forward to what the future may bring.
-A PYC Yogi