Val’s Yoga Story

This is a re-post about what brought me to yoga. If you haven’t heard this story, you may be surprised!

People come to yoga for many reasons. In my experience, some people are wanting to be more flexible and strong in their bodies, while others are looking to calm their minds and find an inner connection with themselves.  Yoga practice brings together mind body and spirit … and allows each individual to grow, heal and strengthen in their own way.

My story about how I came to yoga is a bit different, and I wanted to share it with you…

When I began my training to become a coach in 2002, we did a lot of self exploration about our strengths, values and needs, and what makes each of us unique.  I also had a mentor coach to support me in my skill building and growth. It was a time for getting real and personal transformation!

One day we did a class on Integrity. We looked at what it meant to us and how we could bring that to our coaching.

As I sat back in the chair with my headphones on, I reached for a cigarette and lit up.

quit smokingI felt such a wave of guilt and disappointment in myself for being a smoker.

How could I coach others to be their best while I was feeling so uncomfortable about being a smoker. I realized I was out of integrity.

I was also scared about giving up my habit. Cigarettes had been a friend and a support for me for so many years. Could I really go it alone? What if I failed miserably (again) and couldn’t give them up? Wasn’t it better to be healthy in other parts of my life to balance out the toxicity of smoking? I was trying to do a deal with myself and it wasn’t working…. That icky feeling in my gut was still there.

I was out of integrity and I had to do something if I wanted to face myself and my potential clients. So I told my mentor coach and set a date – March 27th 2002. We put together a coaching plan with the steps that I would take. Each step was something that I felt I could do. … and I did.

Part of my smoke free plan was to start doing yoga. My mentor said it would calm my mind so that I didn’t get as agitated during the change of habit and the physical withdrawal. I hadn’t ever considered yoga, but  I went along to a yoga studio near me……. and I found that it wasn’t as weird or woo woo as I had anticipated. The people were very friendly and made me feel welcome.

I discovered two things that day that would change my life … and my life span!

The first thing I discovered was that my body enjoyed being stretched. The poses felt a bit awkward, but there was a definite opening and flexing that felt good.

The second thing I discovered was how I loved to breathe! Smoking cigarettes had been a way, not only to get a nicotine fix, but also to take deep breaths. Smoking relaxed me. Each big inhale and exhale released the tension. I felt immediately calm as I took a big draw in and then exhaled out.

It was pretty amazing to me that in yoga I could have the same calming effects without poisoning myself.

Yoga became a part of my life and cigarettes became a part of my past.

Now I teach yoga to people at all stages of life and share my love of breathing, stretching, focusing, accepting and letting go.

There is no judgment in yoga, just acceptance of where you are and being your best to live life fully – and breathe fully.

If you have experienced something other than this, then please look for an other teacher.

Namaste

 

 

41 thoughts on “Val’s Yoga Story

  1. Great story, and thanks for sharing it.
    Isn’t it amazing how there may be some things in our life that can be judged to be bad, and that end up helping us? How can we know what’s “good” or “bad” at any given moment? What seems to work best for me is staying open to whatever is in front of me. It’s brought me surprises and delights, with things often working out better than I might have imagined or ever requested.
    Thanks!
    Vincent

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good for you for figuring this out! And when I went to my first yoga class, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the deep breathing. It relaxed my body, which then calmed my mind. Now I do it when I’m feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping….it helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a wonderful story to share, Val. I have found tremendous peace in regular yoga practice, and I am often amazed at the benefits. I was in my early fifties when I took my first class, and I truly felt immediate recognition that this was for me. I often wonder at how my life might have been enhanced differently had I been introduced at a much earlier age. Nonetheless, I’m sure an advocate now. 🙂 I loved hearing your story and knowing more about you. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great story, Val. You’re so right that yoga practice brings together mind, body and spirit. I have been practicing yoga for close to twenty years and have tried different yoga approaches. When I was younger I liked ashtanga but now I enjoy restorative yoga a soft Hatha yoga practice. But I also explored the philosophy attached to yoga such as Raja yoga. Yoga is really part of my life. I’m happy for you that you gave up smoking.
    Wishing you a new year, Val, filled with lots of yoga and calmness. ❤ .

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is awesome and so encouraging! Congrats on successfully quitting smoking!

    I think there are a lot of people who go into yoga thinking it’s going to be super woo woo and find out that it doesn’t have to be that way… Which is how I was as well!
    I’m doing a 30 day yoga challenge right now and you’re so right… It’s so nice to stretch and to breathe!
    Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear from you ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s