A Home in My Body

My ribs expand and contract with each inhalation and exhalation. Air sparks all the cells in my body, transferring from my nose to my lungs to my blood - all the way up to the crown of my head. I’ve been breathing all my life, but this really feels like my first breath. There has been many changes in my life. I am in constant transition. My body bloats and bulges with the buttons on my jeans. At times, my body shrinks and collapses with the weight of my bones. It is all transition. 

I came to yoga in the heart of this transition with a persistent desperation to quiet my ever-turning mind. Before I moved to Seattle, I danced. I danced so much. Every chance I could get, I was moving. I was like a tornado, twirling about. I would spin into my pirouettes on the hardwood floor of my apartment. Always practicing, always working towards perfection. Dance mirrored my life too. In college, I always yearned for the certainty of knowing the right answer, just as much as I yearned to showcase my precision of movement by obsessively practicing each 8-count until I mastered it. Perfection has driven my life and my hobbies for a long time. When I moved to Seattle, all of that changed because the perfection I sought after was unattainable.

Seattle was different. It wasn’t home, but then again, I never felt like I had a home to begin with. Here is where I found a passion. This fire within me lit right from the beginning, bubbling up inside of me appearing right when I needed it most. It actually started long ago when I realized the connection between my mind and an expression through movement. I felt alone - in my life and in my body. I stumbled upon a yoga class, mostly because my emotions were trying to fight their way out of me in any kind of movement I could muster. 

I remember my first yoga class. It had a visceral effect on my body. A cozy blanket of calm enveloped me as I lay in savasana. It descended on my whole person, inching its way up my toes, slowly licking its way up my shin bones, sliding up over my knee caps, swirling around my pelvis, pausing at the abdomen only to travel up further to my heart, lifting past my throat to the crown of my head. It was 85 degrees Fahrenheit. I felt the warmth from the air meet my internal organs. I remember the ground enveloping me in a firm, yet deeply moving embrace. 

For the first time, in a long time, I was at peace with my body.

It all goes back to my breath. That routine inhale and exhale we are all accustomed to.  It took a while to cohesively align my breath with my movement, and even now I get lost in my trembling muscles or wandering mind. That is the beauty of yoga, the freedom within this practice allows me to be an imperfect human. As my physical body quieted, my mind followed with grace and ease. I realized how much I deserve this freedom. How much everyone deserves this freedom.

Yoga writes a new narrative for me, slowly eradicating self-doubt, judgment, and criticism. Through yoga, I have shaken off the dust and cobwebs in the more nuanced part of my mind. I have let these parts taste freedom too. This practice allows me to truly live into who I am at my core. It started with my love for dance and now has manifested in a powerful way I couldn’t even imagine. 

 

I didn’t find yoga. 

Yoga found me. 

It found its way into my affinity for movement.

It nestled its presence in the deepest parts of my soul.

It gave me a gift of creating a home within my body.

It lovingly taught me the beauty of feeling the air that I breathe… every single day.

Inhale exhale.

Expand, contract.

--K.B.

Heather Falkin