My first yoga experience

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So here is where my yoga journey began…

At the tender and formative age of sixteen, I was spending the summer on the magical island of Bali, with my family. Each year my parents would take my brother and I across the seas to southeast Asia where they conduct their business in the clothing industry. This was always sacred time every year, fore my brother and I would play, while my parents worked throughout the day.

One particular day, a family friend suggested I try a yoga class. So, with the generous amount of time on my hands I decided to try it out. I was instructed to go to Seminyak, turn down a back alley and it would open up to a large gate, in which I was to enter…

What I experienced in the next two hours was quite surreal. I knocked on the vast metallic gate and was greeted by a charming Balinese woman who guided me through a garden, towards a beautiful open air gazebo. This space was arranged with ropes against the wall, stacks of blankets, mats and bolsters. The scent of incense wafted through the air and along with it, my mind. I experienced a moment of familiarity, as if I had been here before.. As my big eyes took in this space, I sat down on a mat and simply soaked in my surroundings. I closed my eyes and inhaled the subtle and potent fragrance of frangipanis, as birds chirped in the gardens and the soft chatter of my fellow practitioners made their way into the space.

I opened my eyes to the voice of a dark Indonesian man in small shorts and nothing else introduced himself as Wayan. His thick accent was so intriguing to me. I focused really hard on what he was saying; he was speaking English but it felt as if he were speaking in a whole new way. As the practice began, I paid great attention to what he was demonstrating with his body. He moved with such grace and ease- it was as if he was floating through space and defying the laws of gravity. I remember a pregnant woman in the class and I thought ‘how cool- when I’m pregnant, I want to be doing the same thing.’ Even back then, I knew that yoga would play a major role in my life.

Throughout the interactive session, we strapped ourselves to the wall, twisted, inverted with the support of bolsters, chairs and in the end I drifted off into the most blissful experience of yoga nidra I have ever had. When I awoke, we finished with an ancient sanskrit chant and moments later, a tray of hot chai arrived for every one to enjoy. As I sat there, speechless and breathless in my post yoga nirvana I vaguely overheard the sounds of the women chatting. What struck me the most were the sounds of the birds, the fragrance of the flowers and the grass, the sun on my skin, the soft breeze blowing through and the vibrance of the colors around me. I had awakened to a whole new part of myself, I never knew existed. I felt this new energy pulsing through me and I knew then that I had found my calling.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin

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