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A Yoga Love Story: From On-Off to Going Steady with My Yoga Practice

Annie Wood
A Yoga Love Story: From On-Off to Going Steady with My Yoga Practice

I wasn’t always infatuated with yoga. In fact, I hated yoga...until I loved yoga.

My frustration with yoga began because it kept rudely pointing out all of the things I couldn’t do, like touch my toes. I've been blessed with super tight hamstrings and a lower back that refuses to budge.

I was certain yoga was mocking me whenever I attempted to straighten my back in down dog. And then there was the pain. I was only in my early thirties when it first started. I noticed extreme stiffness upon awakening and muscle and joint pain all day long.

How I First "Met" Yoga

This is where my yoga love story starts. I first met yoga at Highland Spring Resort in Cherry Valley, California. When I was seven years old, my parents would take me and my older brothers to this all-inclusive summer resort. This was one of those places that offered tons of fun for the family; horseback riding, swimming, hay rides and my dad’s favorite offering of all - all meals included!

They also offered daily yoga classes on the lawn. Bright and early, my dad and I would rise and shine and head to yoga class where we would do Sun Salutations to greet the sun, "Hello Sun!". I liked it.

I was a quirky kid who enjoyed communicating with nature anyway, so I was already accustomed to speaking to trees and clouds, so why not the sun? Also, I liked "yoga people" they felt happy and familiar. But spending a week or so each summer in Cherry Valley, does not a practice make.

Fast forward a couple of decades...

What do you know — my old pal, yoga, shows up all over the place in a more mainstream kind of way. At gyms, in parks and on people’s minds. I stuck my toe in once again, that toe that I still couldn’t touch.

I was good at other things… martial arts, tennis, swimming, I even enjoyed the whole Tae Bo craze. But yoga, I just wasn’t any good at it. And that little fact right there developed deeply seated issues between yoga and me. I developed resentment and contempt whenever we met on the mat.

Saying hello to the sun just wasn’t enough for me anymore.

It wasn’t until someone suggested I take teacher’s training when things got even stranger. I did take teacher’s training. Six months of Kundalini yoga and meditation training. I told myself that I was “in it for the mantras.”

I enjoy chanting and singing those pretty mantra songs, they make me feel good. So I figured I’d just power through the yoga part, to get to the good-feeling part. After I graduated, I even taught a few classes with a friend. He taught the yoga section and I wrapped up the class with meditation.

You’d think that after all of that that I would have finally declared myself and yoga an official item. Nope! I stopped teaching and then went several months without teaching or practicing.

How Yoga Became a Daily Activity for Me

So how did it happen? How am I today, as I type this, a devoted yogini through and through? A yogini who never, ever misses a day of yoga? How did I get here?

That persistent pain called… pain. A lot of it. It was Muscular pain throughout my body. I love to work-out but all of my work-outs weren’t working out. In fact, they caused me even more pain.

One day, while visiting my aging mom, I was caught off guard while watching her walk. She was struggling with her balance and aches and pains to such a degree it seemed that a wheelchair would soon be in her future. She did a lot of sitting and not a lot of moving and now, she can barely walk.

A meditation chime went off in my brain and the next sentence I heard was, It doesn’t have to be this way for you.

Finding Healing in Yoga

I immediately found a yoga teacher online and found a thirty minute Vinyasa on youtube. It was a hatha mix with some fast and some slow movements. I started immediately. I began to do this every single day, never missing a day. I even took my travel mat to Italy and never missed a day while I was traveling.

Within six months, my pain was gone. Not “a little improved” but GONE. I also toned-up and lost a few pounds. I felt better, stronger and more like myself. It turned out that my old friend, yoga, was always with me. Yoga was just waiting for me to be ready.

I never miss a day of my home practice, I take weekly group classes, I have yoga Pinterest boards, yoga is all over my subconscious and conscious mind now. I am comfortable coming out and saying this loud and proud: Yoga, I am in-love with you!

I feel fortunate to have discovered yoga for myself again...

And again.

And again.

And again.

I finally realized that yoga is not about touching my toes. It’s about the journey I take with my own mind, heart, spirit and body. It’s about showing up and loving myself enough to take that time on the mat each day to truly be present.

Annie Wood
Optimistic Realist. Enthusiasm Enthusiast. Lifelong writer/actress. Hollywood native. Enjoyer of joy.