YOGAudacious #WCW – Melanie KleinJanuary 28, 2015
This article is reposted with permission from YOGAudacious.com from the 2014 series.
My sister asked me if I’d like to take a yoga class with her at a local community college in 1996. Without a second thought, I replied with a simple yet solid “yes” and I am forever grateful to her. We began practicing Kundalini yoga in a huge old warehouse next to a set of railroad tracks once a week for an 8-week cycle through Mission College’s community extension program.
Eventually, we needed more. After my first class with Bryan Kest at Power Yoga, I was hooked. His street-wise edge, raw humor and keen insight spoke to me on the deepest level. I couldn’t wait to go back, even though the physical practice challenged me intensely. Shortly thereafter, I ditched the gym membership that I had since I was 12 and began a consistent practice with Bryan and Caleb Asch, who allowed my physical and meditation practice to take wings and transform my entire life.
How are you courageous in your practice and life?
For the first time since childhood, I enjoyed my body and felt good in it. I could meet challenges or obstacles head on without crumpling into a heap. I could manage my emotions and let them pass through me.
For me, meeting the world – believing I could navigate responsibilities and pressures, believing I was capable and worthy – and allowing the world to see me was an act of courage and bravery. It signaled a triumph and a transformation for me.
What happened on the mat translated into my life – the courage to show up, accept whatever was going on in the moment, not judge my body or expect it to be the way it was the year before (the month or even the day before) or expect it to be like the person next to me (let alone the images I was saturated with in the media).
As a result, I have taken those lessons, gifts and insights into my work as a feminist, educator, writer and activist.
In 2011, Anna Guest-Jelly and I embarked on a collaborative project that has manifested in the forthcoming publication of the anthology, Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery and Loving Your Body.
What are the benefits of your practice?
My yoga practice became provided solace and comfort in my body, mind, heart and life. I’d been battling negative body image and bouts of restricting, binging and purging since puberty as well as low self-esteem and depression. I’d often feel the urge to hide from the world and my life, engaging in dysfunctional and toxic behaviors and relationships.
The practice along with the rhetoric and wisdom that punctuated Bryan and Caleb’s classes offered opportunities to re-establish my relationship with my body, practice compassion and forgiveness as well providing a safe and constant space to ground and connect.
Wisdom with age.
As I’ve aged with my practice, my teacher and my community, I finally feel like I’ve had my “a-ha” moment. As my body has changed due to age and the traumatic birth of my son, I have returned to my yoga practice with a new found maturity and appreciation for modifications and moderation. This has been a huge indication to me that I am listening and feeling into my body and it’s needs on a much deeper level than I did in my 20s.
photo credit: www.SaritPhotography.com
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