On a Friday afternoon in January, I sat around in a circle of strangers and introduced myself. I’m Marian. I’ve been practicing yoga regularly for over a year. I’m an injured runner. I used to dance. I’m so happy to be here. My least favorite pose is chinese splits [nine months later, it still is.] I listened as the rest of my teacher training class told their stories. Half of us were ex-runners. Some people had been practicing for years, some of us were newer to yoga. College students, soon-to-be-grandparents, soon-to-be-parents, men, women, people with open hips, people who hyperextend their knees, mothers, artists, investment bankers.
For one of the first times since I had moved to Charlotte, I felt like I had found a group of people who liked the same things I did, who didn’t think I was crazy for waking up at 5 every morning to go move around in a hot sweaty room. A group of people with big hearts, a generous helping of wisdom, and a willingness to look inside themselves and find ways to make the world – as well as their own lives – happier and more beautiful. At the end of our “circle time”, I had an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to hug every single person in the room. I almost had to sit on my hands to keep myself from actually going for it.
Nine months later, this Sunday morning, we were all sitting around in a circle again. A little older, a little wiser, and a little bendier, we each shared a) either something we want to welcome into our lives, or something we want to let go of, and b) a mantra that we will take with us.
I’m still just starting to realize the effect that these 21 new friends have had on me. They have supported me through difficult and scary times; they have celebrated and accepted me for exactly who I am; and they have encouraged me without ceasing. They have made me laugh, made me collapse onto my mat in a pool of sweat, made me cry with admiration for their own personal strength. They’ve been my surrogate parents, my teachers, my students, my therapists. The world will be better because they will be sowing seeds of beauty and awesomeness every time they step into a yoga class to teach. I can only hope I’ve been as much a friend to each and every one of them as they have been to me.
So, to my friends, thank you. And to Grace, our teacher who exudes love and excitement and, well, grace – thank you even more. Thank you for showing be how to be strong, how to be compassionate towards myself, how to teach, how to let go. Most importantly, you’ve taught me to believe in myself. So that was the mantra I chose. And I’ll carry it with me, just like I carry your friendship, through my life and travels and ups and downs.
I believe in myself.
Thank you for teaching me how. I love you guys.