“Transformation is not a future event. It is a present activity.” – Jillian Michaels
My very first yoga teacher taught me that yoga is a practice of transformation. I understood her to mean that yoga would transform my three-times postpartum body.
With time, yoga did this. I became happier with and more accepting of my body. Indeed, I found a peace with my body that I had never before experienced.
As I began to read book after book about yoga in an effort to understand this practice that had so captivated me, I began to understand that yoga would transform my behavior. As a mostly frazzled, almost all the time stressed and sometimes quite frustrated ex-career girl and current full-time mom of three under five, this was a big offer. You see, I had ceased to recognize myself in the chaos of my days and the tulmult of my reactions to that constant disorder. I very much yearned for my actions to better match the person I knew I could be.
With time, yoga did just this. I became much less reactive and much more mindful in (most of) my responses to life. Slowly but surely, I began to feel more like the woman I hoped to be rather than the unpleasant stranger I had become.
As I continued to practice, I found myself drawn deeper into my faith. I found myself praying. I found myself sensing God all around me. I thought I heard God calling me. I felt profoundly cared for and deeply special – almost “chosen” – as I was led down the path of making yoga and spirituality my life’s work. I studied and I trained. I learned and I grew.
Yoga continued to transform me – now at a spiritual level – into a person willing to make my faith the cornerstone of my life and my work.
As I continued to practice and to teach, meeting people I never would have met if I had not made yoga my work, I found myself seeing the world from a gentle, new perspective where we are all part of a created whole. I realized over and over again that the love and interest that God had in little-old-me was a grace given to all. Yes, I was specially loved and cared for. But I did not feel possessive of that love. In fact, every time I witnessed that same special love and care flowing to someone else (which was every single time I worked with a student), my awe and faith grew deeper.
I was privileged to watch yoga transform others, and in doing so, yoga transformed my faith.
Nearly twenty years ago when my first teacher taught me that yoga is a practice of transformation I listened. I believed. And I hoped. I even glimpsed aspects of how right she was. But without practice – an awful lot of it – there was no way to know how complete that transformation would be. At the time, knowing might have scared me off. Now, though, I am impossibly excited to see how this transformation will continue to unfold.
And I wish the same adventure for each of you … so I say to you, “Yoga is practice of transformation. Are you ready? Let’s go.”