Enter Yoga Into My Life

"It's not life that matters, it's the courage you bring to it."  Yogi Bhajan

Finding Kundalini yoga saved me from my life as it was.  Through intensive practice not only did my physical body change but so did my emotional, psychological and physiological systems.  The world looked different through the eyes of practicing Kundalini yoga.  I became stronger from the inside out.

I had been wanting to add some yoga into my routine.  It was 2001 and I was starting to make some big changes in my life.  I had given up alcohol the previous year after a trip to Mexico.  I was no longer using recreational and pharmaceutical drugs.  I was training with the SF AIDS Foundation to run a marathon in December 2001, in Hawaii.

On the spur of the moment I decided to get away for Labor Day weekend.  A friend had just returned from Harbin Hotsprings and insisted I should go there.  I rented a convertible car, went to North Face and bought a sleeping bag and mat, and headed up the mountains.

I can still remember that weekend as though it was yesterday.  The sights, sounds, smells, what I feared, what I overcame and how my mindset shifted in a way that it had never done before.  Now I would call it an "A-HA" moment but back then I didn't have such language at my disposal!

Arriving late Friday evening I quickly overcame my fear of being naked, took several dips between the hot and cold pools, and lay in my sleeping bag on a redwood deck with 30 strangers.  A big bright moon and a sky full of stars shone down on me as I listened to Jack Canfield, After the Ecstasy the Laundry, on cassette tape (it was 10 years ago!)

I woke with the sun and went to find a spot to write in my journal.  I found another redwood deck facing East and watched the sun come up between the mountains.  I wrote as though my life depended on it, spilling my thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams into the pages of my journal.

Then I noticed someone doing yoga.  I wrote that he was doing my yoga and when he finished he turned to say, "Good morning."   Apparently I told him I was a lawyer who was going to change my life in 7 years.  He didn't think it was going to take that long (and he was right.)

The next morning he led me through a Kundalini set as the sun came up.  Invigorated by our practice together we hit the hot and cold plunge pools before chanting in the sauna.

I had never experienced anything like that weekend before.  Having been a serial monogamist since the age of 16 I had always done trips with my partners.  Now I was embarking on more and more adventures alone.  And I always came back with great stories!

It was hard to leave my new friends and the hotsprings.  They were off to another hotsprings further North to play there.  They had an amazing band that inspired me to play djembe, but that is another story!

I was heading back to the city and my office, four days away and I was ready to be gone for good.  Traveling back down the mountain I had to stop several times and write frantically in my journals.  Ideas were literally spewing out of me.

Though I had no idea how pivotal that weekend was at the time, I did know it was different€¦In fact life never was the same after that weekend€¦I will share more tomorrow.

Do you remember the feeling of those early A-HA moments when you had no clue what was ahead of you but you felt a shift?  I would love to know.

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280