By Maryrose Wood
I came to my yoga practice with the goal of self-care in a time of personal
stress. I didn’t have any large agenda about it; I just wanted to get out of
the house and do something positive for my mental and physical health. I
work from home, so the part about getting out of the house was significant.
And I’m a writer, which I know people like to imagine as a full-time romp
through the fragrant wildflower meadows of inspiration.
I like fragrant meadows as much as the next person, but I think my
profession was best described by the American writer Gene Fowler when he
said, “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until
drops of blood form on your forehead.”
I was well acquainted with that bloodied-forehead condition. But If I took a
yoga class, I reasoned, for ninety whole minutes it would be someone else’s
problem to decide what happens next. This notion was pure catnip to me. I
bought some stretchy pants and off I went.
Not quite two years later, to say I got what I came for would be
a comical understatement. I think yoga is a bit sneaky that way. It doesn’t
really care why you show up. It’s not terribly interested in the long mental
lists you bring into the room with you: the things you think you need and
don’t need from the practice, the things you are quite sure you can and
to say I got what I came for would be
a comical understatement
It is a transformative practice, and in that sense I’ve come to understand
that it has a lot in common with the practice of writing, or being an artist
of any kind. Writers make stories, artists make paintings, composers make
music, but all of us are working to create some kind of profound energetic
experience that is focused and powerful enough to leap across time and space
and move our audiences in a meaningful way. I know a fair amount about the
craft of writing as both practitioner and teacher, but through studying yoga
I’ve found a new way of thinking about how that craft alchemizes words on a
page into the timeless energy of story.
The 200 hour teacher training program was a chance for me to gather all the
bits and pieces of learning I’d picked up in classes and situate them within
the framework of yoga as a rich philosophical and spiritual practice. What a
gift it’s been to discover how much there is yet to learn! The illumination
is profound and ongoing. Deepest thanks to the teachers at Hathavidya for
their support and guidance, to Bread and Yoga for giving us a home, and to
my eight lovable co-adventurers on the journey, who continue to astonish and inspire me with their open hearts and seeking spirits.