The Genesis of My Yoga: Part I
The Genesis of My Yoga: Part I
“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.” - T. K. V. Desikachar
I first began practicing yoga when I was 13-years-old, in my parents’ house at 6:00am on a Saturday morning, guided by Kate Potter’s Namaste Yoga Practice. I’ll be honest and confess that part of the reason I chose this televised instructor was because of her name, which was a mashup of Joey Potter from Dawson’s Creek and Katie Holmes who played the character, both of whom I was (and still am) madly in love with and wanted to be like. I’ll also be honest and confess that the reason I chose to begin practicing yoga at 13-years-old on that weekend, before the sunrise, was because I had a body complex--and a dress to fit into. All I can say is that it was 2003, and neither the world nor I knew any better.
My favorite part of the class was Savasana (Corpse pose), which simply consists of lying flat on your back. It is known as the death or end of the practice. “Feel the skin dripping off your body, the flesh, the bones, until there is nothing left. Feel yourself sinking into the Earth, one with the Earth,” the instructor whispered. Even at such a young age, I felt this in my soul; I felt the thread that connected my core to the Earth’s core. I wanted to be zen like the women in these videos, but I also wanted to feel that connection, that sense of purpose, importance, and identity more than anything else.
For the next decade, I practiced yoga privately and sporadically. I strived to be the kind of woman I imagined myself to be: a yogurt-eating yogi who practiced yoga on the beach at dawn before an early literature class. I still had a body complex, but I didn’t have a dress to fit into this time. Instead, I had an identity to fit into.
In 2013, I set out to accomplish this by moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, to study for my master's degree in English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The first time I went to Food Lion, I bought two dozen containers of Yoplait yogurt.
I continued my private and sporadic yoga practice, but not on the beach. It wasn’t until a year after moving that I went to a yoga studio for the first time, and I absolutely fell in love. This was also where I met my yoga-best-friend and teacher. My yoga-best-friend and I referred to our teacher as our North Star. We gave her this title because whenever we forgot who we were or why we were there, she was our guiding light back home. Every class she laid down indisputable Truths that reverberated through my soul, to the thread that connected me to the Earth’s soul. “You are enough. Your body is perfect, right now, just the way it is in this moment,” she reminded me.
It was because of her classes that I got over my body complex and accepted that I wasn’t the yogurt-eating yogi who practiced yoga on the beach at dawn before an early literature class. Instead, I was a hamburger-eating yogi who practiced yoga at 9:00pm after a late literature class, and that was okay with me because that was my yoga. It was real, and at the end of it, I could always feel the thread that connected the Earth and I, together, thrumming.
I’m not particularly proud of the genesis of my yoga, especially because of how superficial it was in my early years. However, I am not ashamed of it. Recently, I wrote a short piece about how I came to love Tolkien’s literature, and in that piece I admitted that I was ashamed I had seen Peter Jackson’s films before reading Tolkien’s books. The editor responded with “It’s not as important how we all got to Tolkien, just that we all got here in the end and why we all stay.”
The editor’s response is similar to one of my teacher's many truths in our yoga practice: don’t pass judgment on how well you’re performing the pose; just do it, and then let it go. The genesis of my yoga isn’t how or why I came to it. The genesis of my yoga isn’t how, where, when, or why I perform the postures. The genesis of my yoga is in the moment that it positively changed my relationship with my body and my identity. Yoga is, above all else, about transformation, first with ourselves and then with others.
I would love to hear your genesis story of how you came to yoga. Post a comment below!
Today, Holly Adcock is still a hamburger-eating yogi who practices yoga at 9 o’clock at night after a late English class, except this time, she’s teaching the class as a full-time professor. Her previously published work includes a poem entitled “This Old Room” and an essay called “I’m Sorry, Mr. Jackson, I am Not Real.” She lives in New Bern, North Carolina with her husband, two cats, and one dog. In her spare time, she enjoys making rice bags for her non-profit, Rice Bags With Love, and learning to garden. For more information, visit her website https://hmlynn1.wixsite.com/janeofalltrades or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/holly.lynn.31337.