Several years ago, I found myself becoming more and more angry. It had started growing in me and no matter what I did; it felt like it was eating me from the inside out. Part of it was because I was no longer safe within my religion. During a period of emotional delicacy words were issued down upon me that at the time seemed comforting but in the long run, devastating. I was not raped, I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, asking for it by my actions—so I was told. And the only way back to a whole being was by never speaking about it to anyone but god. And I tried; I tried for a long time to make myself whole. To throw myself into the arms of god and he would provide—the anger would fade. But it didn’t. I withdrew. All the boxes had been checked and I was still angry at the world, angry at those fucking words, angry at that man who forced himself on me so many years ago. And many nights, after a long day at a well paying job, drinks with ‘friends’, I would come home and cry knowing my thoughts were going to kill me.
After seeking reliable council from people who worked with rape victims I realized that before I could even try to be whole, I had to work on me, the internal me. And the only way to do this was to be okay with being myself, within a space, on my own. I started Tai Chi, moved on to restorative yoga, and then into some vinyasa yoga. To this day, I come back to restorative yoga more often than any other. For me, it’s been the few moments in a day where I can slow down, think about my intentions or what’s really bothering me and let it go. Sometimes I can’t let it go, but I can sure well figure out why I can’t. And that’s okay too. After years of practice I’ve finally found peace with my demons. There is no longer a battle over which will win today. I often say this, but it doesn’t ring any less true; it’s better to have a balance with your inner demons and talk with them rather than let them overwhelm you to a point of no return.
The Yoga Class
After practicing yoga for a while now, I’ve come to see a real difference between the practice of yoga and yoga classes. Don’t get me wrong; there are some classes that you can feel the whole body and mind experience. But there are others, and I find this to be most mainstream yoga classes where more emphases is placed on the movement of your body. A sequence of poses in rapid succession to a beat of gym music or something that vaguely sounds Indian. As well as automated opening and closing mantras that are said in a disconnected tone. There’s no space for you to think. No time for you to understand why your breathing is laboured in a pose. Or even how to breathe in a pose. And maybe that’s why I keep going back to restorative yoga, because for me, practicing yoga is not a class, it’s my therapy.