Everyone Has a (Yoga) Story

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | April 25th, 2013 | 6 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

Everyone has a story about why they took their first yoga class and why they keep coming back. Most involve a desire to slow down, release tension, or recover from an injury. Mine is no different.

I took my first step onto the mat to learn how to let go of tension before it turned into an ulcer, as my lifestyle at that time was very fast-paced and stressful. Little did I know that in taking my first step on the mat, I would not only learn how to tune into my breath and strengthen my body, I would learn that I had the power to transform my life by gaining a clearer understanding of the mind-body connection.

I like to look at my yoga mat as a magic carpet. If I’m living in my head too much, it can be my teacher, providing me with an education of the heart and the soul. If my inspiration is lagging, it is my meditation mat, giving me permission to just be and let the noise and distractions melt away. If my body is feeling tired or not challenged enough, I can choose from a variety of poses and styles of yoga to obtain the awakening my body desires.

As a student of yoga, the central lesson I’m constantly learning is this: Everything is going to be all right. It doesn’t matter how many times I get my right and left mixed up, or if I breathe too loudly, or if I fall asleep in Savasana. The reason I still go to my mat day after day, week after week, is the knowledge that everything is going to be all right, and I always come away with an additional lesson or two. If my left and right sides are mixed up, I’m not focusing and being present. If I’m breathing too loudly, it’s because I’ve been under stress and holding my breath too much in my life off of the mat. If I fall asleep … well, that means I finally found a quiet place within.

The ancient yogis practiced asanas to prepare their bodies for long periods of meditation. They didn’t practice to master a certain pose or to get a workout. Their intention was to go within and tune into their source — one of the main benefits of a consistent yoga practice. However, the asanas themselves are truly amazing. Each pose not only has the ability to open up a certain muscle area, but also our internal organs. For example, when doing twists, we detoxify our bodies, releasing impurities in our liver and kidneys and creating a more balanced body, inside and out.

Yoga is a practice. A practice in tuning into our bodies, minds and spirits for the fulfillment of a healthier, more peaceful life. Yoga is a practice that requires commitment without the need for perfection. By stepping on the mat day after day, week after week, we affirm our commitment to obtaining the benefits of a regular yoga practice, transforming our lives and gaining a clearer understanding of ourselves.

What’s your yoga story?


  1. I remember taking my first class over a decade ago to try and find some focus – I used to be a busy copywriter in an ad agency. So Yoga was meant to be something to improve focus. It turned out to be a lifelong passion and study. Soon I left advertising for life as a yoga teacher. I’d say I shifted from Deadlines to a Lifeline! :)

    Manish Pole | April 30th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  2. Thank you Michelle. I first took up yoga (reluctantly!) on my wife’s suggestion it would help calm my nerves. A decade later, I’m no longer in the corporate world, and have my own yoga business. You’re right. Yoga becomes a way of life! J

    James | April 30th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  3. I first started yoga due to back pain. I really get your analogy of your yoga mat being a magic carpet. I also found that for me yoga ended up being about so much more than just relieving physical pain, but also that which is mental and spiritual.

    Jill Martin | May 7th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  4. I was hit on my mt. bike 1998 Vancouver BC by a cabbie, the bones in my lower legs had rotated to the right my body to the left, sounds like a familiar pose. :)
    I had the ligaments and cartilage repaired for the 2nd surgery they were going to do something to fix my bones…
    I started yoga classes 6 mths after 1st surgery, Yoga Passages in Calgary Alberta, Astanga and was hooked, just had trouble with some poses because of the injuries. a couple of mths later we were in virabadrasana 1 and instead of coming out of the pose we lifted up out of the pose rotated to the right to go into vira 1 opposite side and my bones in my lower legs slipped back into the right alignment. yoga is my breath of life and helps keep me out of the chiropractors office :) Thks Tracey Mann you still rule when it comes to yoga teachers.

    Rose Dupuis | May 14th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  5. Thank you so much for posting your yoga stories! I love to hear how yoga has changed lives in such amazing ways!


    Michelle Finerty | May 20th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  6. i come from India. its pathetic i did not start it when i was young. took to the mat as a result of back pain(not that its gone as a result of yoga…… yet), but i firmly believe the intent of yoga goes beyond just body/workout. IMHO if that is how one tries to take it, i think more often than not, you wont benefit from yoga.

    Although in a pathetic point in my life i have just calmed down and have not had alcohol (though im not a regular) since i started yoga..

    i don’t know why but i just don’t feel like it. the scotch is just lying there… LOL :)

    All this thanks my wonderful yoga teacher..


    Ajay | May 28th, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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