My relationship with yoga is not a love story. I wasn’t so much familiar with the practice of yoga as I was with the term. My name is Laskmy, after all. Derived from Lakshmi – the Hindu Goddess of Wealth. I like to tell people that my father was a hippie experimenting with different religions. He liked the name and liked what it stood for so he tried manifesting wealth into his life by naming his first child after the goddess who promised to do so. Hilarious and mostly true…except for the part about him being a hippie. He was actually a full-flesh Hindu living in a temple in Dominican Republic. (Yes, there are Hindu temples there.)
But, my name has nothing to do with my interest in yoga. Purely coincidence, I suppose.
I grew up with my mom. She is not Hindu. And, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I spent most of my childhood resenting my biological father. I resented him for leaving my mom while she was pregnant with me. So when I was sent off to pay him visits, he bore the brunt of my frustrations. I dismissed my biological father’s yoga practice because I wanted nothing to do with my him, his practice, or his religion. I was not open to this way of life; I was ignorant. I was just a kid, unable to separate the pain my father caused me and his lifestyle. But I’ve come a long way since then.
Fast forward to college…
I first started yoga classes in college. They were free and I was a busy bee. I needed something to pour my energy into besides school, studying, and partying. I enjoyed the class and how it made me feel afterwards but it didn’t make me as flexible as I thought it would. Maybe I went in with too much expectation, and maybe I didn’t practice as much as I should have. It was hard to keep up with the rest of the class, so I just figured, “Eh, maybe it’s not for me.” Common mistakes beginners make. Needless to say, after only a couple sessions of free yoga, I gave up on the practice altogether and dismissed it as a waste of time. Good riddance, I thought.
Fast forward to 2014…
I crashed….my car that is. Multiple times. I crashed my car three times in a year and a half. This left me miserable and in a terrible transition where I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life anymore. And the more time I spent in this state of miserableness the more I hated myself and the people around me that were making their careers happen for themselves. I was miserable mentally, emotionally, financially, and I blamed everyone else for my problems. To top it off, I was suddenly jobless after what I thought was going to turn into a great career change. It was a challenging and depressing time for me.
My path back to yoga was an unconventional one and it began with…Instagram. Scrolling through the explore section of Instagram I found myself musing, “oh wow, I wish I could hold this pose”, “I wish I could travel, and do yoga, and drink smoothies, and live on the beach, and look as peaceful and stressless as all these beautiful women.” I wanted to be those women. I wanted to be flexible, and have great abs, and have beautiful beach pictures, and travel, and get back to the career I loved, and feel my happy spirit again. They became my motivation to try yoga one more time. I needed something to help me change my life and I hoped this would be it.
Lucky for me, yoga was trending. It was everywhere. And it still is! Studios in every neighborhood, people doing yoga on the beach, at the park, in stores. Free yoga videos on YouTube and websites offering instructions on poses. I no longer thought yoga was just this passing thing my father was into way back in the day- it was an actual thing. A source, a guidance for people to look for answers within.
I used to think you had to be flexible to do yoga. I used to think you had to have a lot of money to be considered a yogi. I used to think it was only cool for hot-blonde-babes who were already dancers, gymnasts, or cheerleaders. My assumptions, gathered from a place of ignorance, were wrong and way off. I am extremely thankful that the beautiful yogis of Instagram were practicing, putting themselves out there, and making yoga look appealing to the point where it got me off my victimization high horse…and back in the saddle of practicing yoga instead.
I am not naturally flexible. I’ve never been a dancer, gymnast, gym bunny, or a serious athlete. I knew I had a lot of work to do. A lot of work physically, mentally, and spiritually. I needed to heal, I needed to move on, I needed to find myself again, and get back to the girl that loved teaching, working with children, traveling, and learning.
So I bought myself a $12 mat and started my yoga practice at home with some free YouTube videos to guide me. I began to get familiar with some of my favorite poses and stretches and stuck to those asanas. My practice was slow, but daily. The gentle stretches and the unhurried flows helped calm my thoughts down. Even the discomfort I felt from holding a pose for a long time left me with an immediate sensation of relief.
Fast forward to now…
The mental and emotional healing didn’t come instantaneously, but I am healing, and growing, and stronger, and living better… with more grit and guts to back me up.
Practice yoga. Be at peace. Be present.