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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Dunbar | RYT-200

When the Student is Ready...

My foray into yoga as a student was neither smooth nor serene. In fact, as I look back on the log entries from some of my first formal (read: taught by a live teacher and not on a DVD), it is evident that I thought the sign of a "true" yogi was to try to find a message in every movement. The fact that I quantified my practices by logging them in the first place is even a bit laughable.

But we all have to begin somewhere, right?

So I've curated some content from those early log entries, not as a way to demonstrate how I found enlightenment, or that I mastered some pose. Instead, as I take a look back, I see a slow backward progression - moving away from needing to be perfect, and moving closer what was my truth.

I've never been to an ashram (which I had to Google before using it in this sentence;), and I've never met a Guru. And my progression is raw, sometimes (a little) funny, and very, very real.

But along the way, I found and learned to appreciate myself.

First Steps

July 13, 2011 · dailymile · I've done yoga with DVDs, but have never taken an instructor-led class until tonight. Oh. My. Gosh. The sweating! The stretching! The pain (in a good way)! One of the best lessons marathoning has taught me is, "listen to your body." Yoga brought that to a whole 'nother level. I have some work to do, but I can't think of no better way to enhance my fitness routine while working through injuries.

I suck - and that's OK!

July 13, 2011 · dailymile · Honestly, I kinda suck at yoga. Apparently if I'm not going hard and fast at something, I get frustrated, which is why as a racewalker I am maniacal about improving my time.

And this is precisely the reason I'm going to stick with yoga. I've always had trouble "being still" and "letting go." So when the instructor said, "Appreciate your body wherever you are in your [yoga] practice," I felt as though she was speaking directly to me. I decided to forgive myself for sucking, and to stick with this a while.

Next up: swimming. Both yoga and swimming require a certain amount of calm, surrender and trust. I think I see a pattern here...

What's that? Acceptance?

August 3, 2011 · dailymile · Not sure if I'm getting better at this, or just accepting where I am and working within my practice level, but unlike past weeks, I wasn't dripping with sweat nor gasping for air. And - shhh, don't tell - I may have actually relaxed!

This. Right. Here.

August 24, 2011 · dailymile · Excellent. Not because I mastered everything - or anything, for that matter. Excellent because of the complete acceptance I have for where I am in my practice, for joy in the small changes (hands just that much closer to the ground in forward fold) and for starting in the first place. My lungs may not have full capacity right now, but starting down this path is a healing road for me.

Moving in harmony with challenge

September 7, 2011 · dailymile · Very challenging tonight...some intermittent dizziness relieved by extended time in child's pose, and just allowing myself to be wherever I was in my practice without beating myself up. Eventually attempted a wall-assisted handstand with the rest of the class and was pleasantly surprised at what I was able to do.

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