My interest in yoga started when I was in college as a way to diminish stress by finding a sense of groundedness in my body. In school, I often found myself feeling stuck in my head, with my brain never getting a break, and my body a little neglected as a result. Every once in a while, I would find my way to a yoga studio for a class, and I would leave feeling not just physically better, but emotionally soothed in a really noticeable way, like the rough edges in my spirit had been smoothed out, and my mind had finally been given a chance to rest and catch up with itself. At that time, yoga was more of an occasional treat for me, rather than a regular practice, but it kept showing up in my life, like the universe was saying “hey, maybe this would be really good for you.” At a particularly stressful time when I was living in a new and unfamiliar area, I was going for a walk to clear my head, and a flyer for a yoga studio blew across my path. I never ended up going, but I kept turning the idea over in my head. So, during my senior year of college, I signed up for an introductory yoga class early on Friday mornings. I was very much a night-owl in those days, so showing up was a huge challenge, but nonetheless I found myself looking forward to that class as the best part of my week. Afterwards, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated and ever so slightly more in tune with myself and with the world around me. Yoga was still an intermittent part of my life rather than a regular one, but my interest had been sparked and I knew that it would be something I would keep returning to.
Several years later, I found myself exploring yoga again, this time as a way to incorporate healthy movement into my life and find increased flexibility. I started to develop a regular practice, learning the basics and going to classes, and I found a sense of connection between the emotional/spiritual aspects of my practice and the physical ones. As a child, I had gone to a Quaker school where every morning started with a period of silence where everyone had a chance to mindfully settle in to their day. Later on, in public school and then in college, I lost track of this ritual, and didn’t realize how crucial it had been until I added yoga into my life. Yoga gave me an opportunity not just to exercise my body, but also to simply sit still and breathe, which turned out to be just something I had needed the whole time. There are many ways of taking that space, but I found that yoga gave me exactly the tools I needed to help myself.
Written by Grace Martin
Grace Martin is a library assistant and aspiring writer who loves food, fiber arts, and reading any book she can get her hands on. She was drawn to yoga in early 2017, and enjoys incorporating aspects of meditation and ritual into her practice. She has lived in Keene for the past two years.