The transformative power of yoga

I unexpectedly fell in love with yoga, and although it’s been a challenging relationship at times I keep coming back to this practice because it truly played a part in transforming my life and now a days I do my best to share it’s gifts with others.

I first started doing yoga because I wanted to get fit without going to a gym plus I wanted to incorporate more spirituality into my life. I had seen many fit yoga instructors and heard of course about yoga being spiritual without being religious, so I decided to try a few classes. Trust me, I know this sounds ridiculous but hey we all come to the practice for different reasons.

To give you a bit of a background: I was 27 years old at the time, out of shape, very insecure, some pretty intense body image challenges as well as I was about six months sober. Needless to say I had a lot on my plate!

Looking back now I can see I really had no idea what I was looking for although I knew for sure I wanted to ‘feel better’. Yoga did not necessarily make me feel better, in fact there were many times when I felt worse after going to a class. Thankfully, I had some pretty profound experiences early on that kept me coming back.

Every time I had to put on yoga clothes and go into a room with others who seemed more fit, more confident and more easily knew what to do I met that part of myself that felt less then and insecure. Some days I couldn’t take it and other days I could. I kept going back.

Early on in my practice I met the right teacher, a woman who to this day I would call my mentor and now a friend. Over the years I went to hundreds of her classes and I watched her move, I listened to her cues and I tried my best to incorporate all of this into my body, my practice. In my mind, although she was often using words to describe the physical body and how to move it, what she was really talking about was deep connection. Connection to THIS body, THIS life and to the world around me.

In time my body starting tuning into it’s own intelligence, I got stronger and my body began to wake up. Because really this is what this practice is about, it’s about waking up on a physical, emotional and soul level. It’s impossible to separate these aspects of our being. So to change, realign, inform and move one part of our being is to do this to all aspects of our being.

It is through this practice and being around other people also interested in living this way I have come to inhabit my body. For the most part I live in my body, I am not just in my head thinking about my life. I am experiencing and feeling life with my physical body.

The yoga practice really can transform your life. To anyone just starting out I would suggest looking for a teacher that resonates with you, finding a type of yoga practice that suits you and being patient with it. It is going to be hard at times and it’s possible you will experience some injuries along the way. It is all a part of learning how to live in your body.

You will also become stronger, more confident, more at ease in your body and feel more grounded.

I believe the transformative power of the yoga practice is accessible to all.

Joy Dorsey is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Food and Body Image Coach, Speaker and the Director of Educational Media at Clarity Yoga Academy. Joy is also part of the Teacher Training faculty for Clarity’s 2016 250hr Teacher Training program.