Some say, “Yoga found me.” I don’t. That would be as if my parents “found me” in the hospital nine months after my father came home for lunch from the Air Force base. I am a result, a willful act of creation. Yoga was a gift from my aunt Joan, my spiritual mentor, during those trying adolescent years following the death of my father.

I received yoga as a path for healing wounds that cannot be seen. Beyond schoolwork, National Geographic and four TV channels, I navigated a teenaged imagination-filled universe of distractions. Yoga presented the possibility of transcendence, a pilgrimage – I would ultimately discover – that begins and ends with the realization at the heart of self awareness: we choose our reality.

Yoga is a way of being. The physical practice, the breathing and alignment, creates an experience wise aunt Joan knew would bring peace to my body, mind and spirit. Yoga reunites me with myself, a way to acknowledge the divine nature that is the essence of all life. When asked, “Where do you practice?” I say, “I am practicing right now. On purpose in this moment and all that follow.”

I have enjoyed countless hours in yoga classes, consciousness-raising sessions, shamanic retreats, comedy clubs, poetry readings and creative writing workshops – places where attention is focused and distractions are discouraged. On my yoga mat I often disappear into a separate reality, one of my own creation. In those moments I realize, when ready to take flight into the world of my wildest imaginings, breathe deeply and don’t look down.yoga_church