Have you ever unlocked your front door at the end of a long day, hugged a friend, fed a pet, watched a sunrise—done anything, really—and suddenly realized, “I take all this for granted”?
I have. Many times. I don’t mean “take things for granted” in an unappreciative way. I mean that we don’t realize how much things become parts of us, how much we rely on other people and pets and activities to make up our lives and contribute to who we are. I have moments of awareness, days or weeks when I’m conscious of the makeup of my life and the sheer power I possess to change the parts that just don’t work for me. Then, other things and thoughts get in the way, and I start to forget that life isn’t just happening to me. I get by on autopilot until the next time something makes me stop and think, “Wait…I’m here, right where I am right now, because of choices I made. And most of them were good.” The words currently on your screen are the indirect result of a choice I made years ago; I had no idea that one decision would change my life.
January 2004. After a few years of semi-regularly practicing yoga at my gym, I decided to search for more. I wasn’t exactly sure what “more” meant; I only knew that I wanted it. I spent my afternoon searching the Internet, and came across something called “Bikram yoga.” Cardiovascular? 105 degree room? Sweating? It sounded like my kind of yoga. I kept reading. Silent room? Rules? “Etiquette?” The rebel inside me told me to click the “back” button, but I was intrigued. Terrified and unsure what to expect, I went. And I went back the next day. And the next. I came home a week later to find my apartment burglarized and my valuables all gone. I called the police and told them to come; when they did, I told them to “just shut the door” behind them as they left, because I couldn’t be late for yoga. I could go into detail about how yoga changed my life and continues to do so every single day, but I won’t—not immediately, and not gratuitously. Because this isn’t a yoga blog.
I mean, it is a yoga blog in a way, but most posts won’t focus on specific asanas (postures) or yoga equipment or yoga clothing or news about the yoga community. Before (many, many years before) I ever set foot on a yoga mat, I was a writer (something else I often take for granted.) The yoga room has become one of the most inspiring places for me; I often dash from the room after class to record ideas before I lose them. If an idea finds me in the hot room, I’ll write about it here.
I do practice yoga almost every day, and if I skip a day, I can feel the empty space left by the lack of practice. Writing is my other practice of becoming more aware, and I hope to get back to feeling like something is missing if I don’t write every day, as well. I’ve been letting fear stop me from combining these two activities; this is my attempt to toss that fear aside.