My First Yoga Teacher floated!

When I first discovered Yoga, almost 20 years ago, I was living in NYC working as a dancer in musical theatre.  I was accustomed to my body being judged for how it looked and how it could "perform."  Standing in line at an audition or in front of the mirror in dance class, I constantly compared my own body to other women's bodies. My mind told me I wasn't tall enough, tiny enough, feminine enough. My legs couldn't kick as high as the other girls, my hands and feet were too big, my neck was crooked. You get the idea... I wasn't good enough. Have you ever felt this way?

And then one day I wandered into a Yoga class at my local gym.  What was this Yoga thing all about anyway?  I was curious.  The instructor, a man named Gordon, had a deep, soothing voice with an Australian accent (he sounded like a happy Hannibal Lecter) and he seemed to float into the room at the beginning of class. That's him in the picture above.

I was fascinated with how he stayed so serene in the middle of  the craziness of NYC. I mean, wasn't he living in the same reality as I was? Hadn't he just battled the masses of sweaty New Yorkers in the crowded, smelly subway to get to class? I spent my days rushing around, running late, a stressed out mess.  I knew nothing about Yoga, but what I DID know was that I wanted some of that peace and calm that seemed to ooze out of his being.  Can you relate?

At the end of that first class, when we were resting in Savasana (final relaxation pose), he said quietly, "Everything is okay."  I burst into tears.  Those three simple words were just what I needed to hear at that moment.  And to this day, for me that is the message of Yoga:

In this moment, with this breath, in this perfectly imperfect body and mind, everything is okay.  No matter what else is going on in my life, my Yoga mat is a raft of serenity. A judgement-free zone.

In case you're wondering, I followed Gordon around the city to  different studios taking his classes whenever I could fit them into my schedule.  I was hooked on the peaceful, easy feeling I got every single time I practiced.  It was the best kind of addiction a girl could have!  And pretty soon I started to glimpse a new way of being in my body and mind.   I would float back out into the busy city streets after class, uplifted by Yoga.

What about you? I'd love to hear how you discovered Yoga. What is the message you get from your own Yoga practice? Leave a comment below.