dear yoga.

I would like to formally thank you for breaking my heart wide open that one fateful night. It was as though you sat in front of me, looked at me dead in the eye and saw me the way no one else ever had.  I was terrified that the walls I built around myself would crumble in that instant. But you were soft at the beginning. You removed them brick by brick, just enough to keep me coming back.

And then some days you were not as gentle, no, some days you held the sledgehammer in your hands. Some days, you hit me harder than others, left me in a pile of rubble and then asked me 'who was I now?' Most days I would quickly rebuild the walls and go on playing my well rehearsed role of perfection and I would come back to you with my tail between my legs knowing that I was a fraud. 

Just when I thought I had the perfect pair yoga pants, drank the right amount of green juice, and slowly batted my eyelashes and folded my hands gracefully in prayer, you ripped me from this act and threw me into the fold of my ugliness, the places I wanted no one ever to see. And as the sweat poured down my body and the tears slid down my cheeks, you invited me into a new pose. One that I was bad at or looked stupid doing and wanted to quit right then and there. You brought me to my knees, yoga.  But then you took me sweetly into savasana and in my broken pieces lay a truth. It was as though it had just hatched, but you told me it had actually been there all along. I thought I would be hollow and empty without these walls, but I was richer than ever before. I thought I would be barren and ugly but I had never felt so beautiful.  You led me into the depths of my own hell, told me to stay and bare witness to it.  You said watch. You said breathe. You said stay. I wanted to run so fast and so far but instead I watched the fire burn. Just like you told me, yoga. And when it was all done, I smudged myself in the ashes and vowed I would tell everyone that there was a way out of pain.

When you laid me down at the end of each practice, I felt a love I had never known. I often wonder how is it that you can continue to hold me in such a generous presence? I remember for a long time thinking…am I worthy of this place?  You whisper to me the answers I have longed for. You tell me open, open, open. And even when I scream fuck right off, you whisper gentle, gentle , gentle. How can you hold me in such roughness? Such resistance? All of us...hating ourselves and hating you. Yet you don’t even flinch. You say ‘see you next time.’ You never get offended when people think you’re a trend, when we try to brand you or say that you are this and you are that. You just let us come in, soaked in grief and doubt or whatever hell we have created and you hold us. You pour honey on our wounds but not before you pour salt. You say, we need to feel before we heal. I have really begun to trust you on that one. So much so that I have built a life around you. Told many people about you. Made my dreams come true because of you. 

Was it you or was it me all along? Did you break me open so I could free the soul that lay hostage inside. The one shaking with a tape pressed against her mouth trying to speak. Were you just a catalyst to remove the conditioning and the blocks of pain that cling tightly to my DNA? Were you here all along to show me myself? To hold up the mirror and force me to meet my own eyes. The same way you sat with me that first time. You said, this is you- look at your fullness and the wisdom you posses. Drop your stories and get on with it girl. There is so much on the other side of this pain. If you get lost, come back and I will always direct you back home. To free you when you have retreated, to see you when you cannot see yourself, to love you when all love is lost.

Thank you for seeing the entire universe within me, yoga. Thank you for not turning away in my darkest hour. Thank you for nudging me into truth.  Thank you for peeling back my layers and showing me the way back home.