I’ve gone years without praying. I mean, years. And to be completely transparent, I’m not so sure all the prayers I did send up before weren’t just generic ramblings from a girl who needed something. You know. Things like, “Lord, please don’t let my parents find out about the party I had while they were out of town.” Or “please don’t let that be a cop behind me when I’m going 15 mph over the speed limit and I’m somewhat under the influence.” Those “prayers” were never really prayers. More like pleads for mercy from a desperate girl that used God as a last resort. Prayer was something I used in a time of need…when I knew it would take a miracle to get out of whatever mess I had landed myself in. I didn’t have a relationship or line of communication with God. What I did have was a serious desire to save my own butt when I needed to…which was more often than I care to admit.
Having a line of communication, to me, means that a conversation flows two ways. I talk. I listen. Sounds simple enough, right? One would think so. But I’ve been “praying” my whole life and I’m pretty sure I just learned what prayer actually was a few years ago. Funny. It normally only takes me a few days, maybe weeks, to learn a new trade or skill and do a somewhat decent job at it. But learning to talk to God in a way that’s genuine? That has taken me over three decades…and I’m still working on it.
Let me start from the beginning. Yoga.
When I first started Yoga, I started it for all of the wrong reasons. That’s a whole different story in itself so for now, I will just share that I didn’t get into it because of the numerous health benefits it offers. Nope. I got into it because I wanted to look hot on the beach while I did a headstand in a bikini. Shame, Shame. I know. But like I said, that’s another story for another time. I actually did Yoga for about nine months under these pretenses. My main goal wasn’t to do yoga. My main goal was for people to know I did Yoga and think I was even hotter. Sad, I know. This is where I want to add something: God has tools…and He knows how to use them. Thank the Lord for the really good Yoga teachers out there. I will always believe that, warped starting point or not, Yoga was a tool God used on me. Right tools for the right job…am I right?
Let’s fast-forward through those embarrassing, vain filled nine months of practicing headstands and move on…to the next nine months. I got pregnant with my oldest daughter. Not only did I get pregnant with my daughter, I also quit my job of thirteen years, got married, and moved across the country and in with my now in-laws, whom I had never met at this point. Any and all of those things are life changing by themselves! Throw some pregnancy hormones on top of all of it and you have yourself a hot mess express, folks. By this time, I wasn’t doing Yoga to be sexy anymore. I was doing it as an attempt to stay sane. As a means of survival in a whole new world. It wasn’t easy for me…all of that change, all at once. And that’s putting it nicely.
The only really good part about all of this (aside from my gorgeous daughter gracing the world with her presence, I mean)? I got to move from a super small city to Denver, Colorado. Translation: All the prenatal yoga classes I could enroll in…and then some. And that’s exactly what I did. I was trying to catch a class at least 5 times a week. There were between three and five studios that I would frequent and I became a regular in almost all of the prenatal classes at those studios. Some were upbeat. Some were quiet. Some had a spa feel to them. But all of them gave me a break from thinking about how I was in a new place where I knew absolutely no one and had no friends. It was a really lonely time for me and looking back as I type this, I realize now that Yoga played an even bigger role than I have ever given it credit for. Again, God=Tools. Thank You, Lord.
Okay. Now enter these phenomenal teachers I mentioned. I think it’s important that I mention here that I think there are some amazing yoga teachers and flows to be found on Instagram. I also think there are some great resources (dvd’s, YouTube, the www) out there that will teach you some tricks you won’t learn in any studio. I’m even going to give some recommendations for some at the end of this article. With that being said, if you have never been to a studio class…GO TO AT LEAST ONE. I started out by watching DVD’s in my tiny living room of my apartment. But there is something to be said about actually attending a class. And if you are having reservations about going because you’re worried about the opinions of someone else? Screw. That. Please believe me when I tell you that they probably aren’t even thinking of you at all, much less judging you for being there. And if they are? Who gives a shit! This isn’t about them. It’s about YOU!!
Back to the teachers. When I was just doing yoga for the “look-at-me” perks, I was doing just that. Forcing myself into ridiculous positions and poses. I wasn’t thinking of my breathing. I wasn’t thinking of my body. I had zero intentions each and every time I practiced…
Ahhhh…..intentions. My favorite part of yoga. The part of yoga that changed my life. The part that turned my practice in to something so much more spiritual than I ever thought it could be. The part that taught me how to talk to God. The part that taught me how to communicate. The part that taught me how to pray.
If you aren’t sure what I mean by “intentions”, or you are but want to know more about how setting an intention helped me get my Faith back, stick around. This is really important to me and I don’t want to leave any of the good stuff out. But I also don’t want each post to be like a book chapter, so I’ve broken this piece down in to parts. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it will be two or three parts. It’s amazing what all comes back to me when I put pen to paper. Stay tuned for part II…coming soon.