The Accidental Yogi (and How I Turned into a Purposeful Yoga Practioner)
When my family and I moved from Hawaii to Texas in 2000, I felt the need to try to maintain the same feelings of calmness and connection that living in Hawaii had given me . I needed it for me and my peace of mind, but I also wanted it so I could be grounded for my family too…. My son was starting new bigger schools here and my husband was beginning a new challenging job. I needed to be the calm center of our newfound life . It was quite a jolt to move from palm trees and perpetual paradise to highways , traffic and a faster pace . We had been big fish in a small pond, with a close community of great Hawaiian friends/family. We threw parties everyone wanted to come to , had numerous potluck luaus together with our ohana (friends/family). We worked hard but spent every day outdoors, hiking , exploring, swimming in the ocean in our sleepy little island town. we lived the island dream….Now we were small fish in a very exciting, LOUD (yes it’s a lot noisier here in Texas) , wonderful , different life .
So, in 2000, I took my first yoga class at our local gym in Plano Texas and was blown away by the effect this class had on me…. Beautiful music, poses strengthening my mind and body…. Wow! It was a real endorphin kick ! My body and mind began to change for the better. Yoga became a part of my life and heart. I am not the everyday yogi, I found my own way of living yoga. I practice yoga 2-3 times a week, which is the beauty of my kind of yoga. It is a beautiful addition to my life. It is like that lovely piece of crystal that you can admire and hold and look at when you want to really appreciate its purity and simplicity . It reflects life back to you and redirects your thinking. The wisdom I’d like to impart to you, dear readers, is that you do not have to be perfect, or fit anyone’s pattern for what you think your yoga practice should be or do.
Yoga is for all ages. I started at 42 and now am approaching the big 60, going strong.. ..yes I wish I had started when I was 22 , but maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated the gifts it has given me . Being thankful , graceful,and grateful are also benefits of a steady yoga practice. The 22 year old me probably didn’t have the appreciation or gratitude for those things.
About a year and a half ago, before I remarried after being widowed , and with the encouragement of my wonderful husband to be, I enrolled in the Lifetime Fitness 200 hour Yoga Certification classes, and loved that experience. I was a little concerned that my body wouldn’t make it through the class, as I was one of the oldest if not THE oldest one there. But that made me even more motivated to prove it to myself and to be a role model for others. Yes, it was a stretch (pardon the pun) but I was trying to figure out how I could kick it up a notch and considered being a CYT Instructor. I loved the challenge…. and wanted to just see where it would take me. Keep reading and I’ll tell you where it leads (it’s a beautiful accident ). Dear readers ,if you think YOU can’t take a Yoga Certification Class because you’re intimidated for whatever reason, get over it! You CAN! I graduated proudly , and kept going on with my current career as an RN in Home Health (that’s another story)…..
Just this week, I was making a “house call” to a lovely patient who had Multiple Sclerosis. I was administering an IV infusion of a medication to help her recover from an exacerbation of her symptoms. I mentioned that I was going to my yoga class after our medical visit was over, and she asked about the benefits of yoga…. And BOOM! God Moment to Pass it On….. I described how yoga strengthens your mind, your body, your Immune system, yoga aids in increasing endorphins , and started to get further into the medical aspects and benefits . Then I realized I needed to SHOW her how it feels, so I pulled out my IPhone and showed her the picture of the unicorn “Before and After” yoga picture and I said “THIS is what Yoga does for you! We both laughed so hard, and I could see she got it! She had a yoga soul just waiting to be discovered . She thought she might be too old to start. I told her I was almost 60 , and she said incredulously, “You are almost 60?” ( Yes, I know let me brag a little bit after all…. Unicorn! Lol……) Fast forward a few days…. She has just been to the Lifetime Fitness near her house and is going to start her own yoga journey! And voila!
THAT is how my Accidental Yogi turned into a Purposeful Practioner and Yoga Instructor. Believe me, that won’t be that last time in my nursing/yoga career that I get to pass on the gift of yoga. That might be another story!?
Michele Hart Corley
Michele Hart Corley lives in Texas with her husband and dog Sasha . She is a wife, mother, healthcare professional (RN,BSN), and 17 year yoga practitioner (200 hour YTT graduate). She specializes in Healthcare/Wellness Coaching and Patient Education.. She has developed and authored several patient education programs during her career. She continues to practice Home Health Nursing , specializing in Immunology , Neurology, Rheumatology/Autoimmune, and Oncology therapies. She focuses on a holistic , positive approach in her healthcare practice and encourages her patients to explore yoga and to incorporate healthy living and eating into their lifestyles , which in turn leads to improved health and happiness.