Exactly 3 years ago my marriage ended.   We were together for 10 years, married for 8 of them.

It took many years to find the courage to say goodbye.  For so long there were moments I’d say to myself okay, after his birthday I’ll go, or after the holidays, or then it would be some other reason I would rationalize sticking it out.  All because I was filled with fear and guilt.

In July 2015 my ex was in a motorcycle accident on his way to work.  After a week in the hospital he came home in a wheelchair with a leg brace and in a ton of pain.  We were living in NJ far away from friends and family, so all of the responsibilities fell on my shoulders.  I was his sole caretaker while having to maintain my full time job.   It was a nightmare.  Our marriage was already hanging by a rotten thread, and the accident had taken it to a whole other level.  This was no labor of love.

The summer of 2015 was spent taking care of him and our home.  When I ventured out, it would be to doctors appointments or food shopping.  And then I found yoga, for real this time.

I had done yoga here and there over the years but never stuck to it consistently.   Three years later I haven’t looked back, but here are some of the takeaways from my first few months of a consistent yoga practice during the most stressful time in my life.

  1.  My time at yoga and on the mat was just for me.   I didn’t think I’d have a visceral reaction to practicing yoga, but when the instructor said this the first time I shed some serious tears.  The hour was all mine.  No worries about the outside world or what was going on at home.  It was sacred space and the ultimate self-care practice.
  2. It forced me to meditate.  I tried like hell to meditate at home, but that was almost impossible at the time.  Yoga is moving meditation; when you are getting into the various poses, especially balancing ones, you can’t help but to concentrate and be mindful of your breathing.  Your to-do list?  Doesn’t exist in yoga class.  I felt like I was on a mini-vacation during each class, and when you practice long enough, the effects of yoga actually are off the mat.
  3.  As shitty as things were at home, I was able to find gratitude.  This was an unexpected benefit.  I’ve always had an attitude of gratitude, but yoga gave me a whole new perspective about it.   Being grateful to have the opportunity to move my body, challenge myself, see my progress was such an incredible experience.  I would think not everyone can do yoga, which brought more compassion for my ex.  He had been lucky; considering he was in a motorcycle accident he wasn’t paralyzed or had brain damage.  He banged up his knee and hip pretty bad, but in the big picture?  Extremely fortunate.  Sadly, he didn’t see it that way, but he’s on his own journey and I’m REALLY grateful I’m not by his side on it anymore!

If anyone reading this has thought of starting a yoga practice but feels intimidated or isn’t comfortable going to a yoga class without knowing much, I would encourage you to just do it!  My suggestion would be to find a yoga studio vs. a yoga class in a gym.  Yoga instructors are some of the kindest people and if they know you are a beginner they will ensure you have a good experience.  There is ZERO judgement in yoga, so doing what you can is all that matters.

I’ve been going to a wonderful studio called SoIntse Hot Yoga.  If you live near Wading River or Riverhead I would highly suggest taking advantage of their new student discounts.