She’s a friend. Rational thinker. And yoga girl. Former Anorexic with purging tendencies, Nataly intrigued me when I read her blog three years ago. Thirty-something with pink hair and penchant for passionate writing, Nataly successfully managed a business life, party life, and eating disorder. I saw something so familiar. I saw me.
Our philosophies collided, yet I continued reading about this girl who, despite our likewise rejection of the DSM, passionately referenced medical texts, scientific ‘proof’, and mental illness diagnoses. It was all crap to me, but her opinion was kind, smart, and rational. I was hooked on reading this philosophy so unlike my own, yet about the same conditions. Never was I jealous, as I so frequently was at similar personalities. And now we’re friends.
I don’t make friends easily.
Yoga broke her. Just like it broke me. Yoga turned us both into raging food restricters and manic asana queens. It inflamed our already-existing very bad behaviours. Yet since then, we’ve both fixed ourselves with yoga. And her practice inspires mine every single day.
Like me, Nataly’s of the mentality that yoga is a personal journey. And in a world where readers criticise my way of practicing, Nataly is a supporter. An ally. A teacher. She’s taught me more about my practice in the last two years than has done any other human being. “Yoga is more than the postures.” Yes, one hears this. But it’s not really practiced, at least in my old world adorned with yoga housewives, post yoga cocktail luncheons, and lululemon. But Nataly totally practices it, and she’s helping me through my biggest challenges.
She even sent me a pressie.
‘How Yoga Works’ by Geshe Michael Roach.
It’s a book following a cute story of a Tibetan girl teaching the Yoga Sutras to an Indian Captain that arrests her. She teaches him postures, then, using the Sutras, teaches of how yoga works on the mind. I’m only a hundred pages into the novel, but I’m in love!
Just like on page 20 of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ where I fell in love, the moment in ‘How Yoga Works’ was page 46.
“…many people try yoga. For a good number of them yoga works wonderfully: it helps them recover their strength and energy, fixes problems like your back, makes them look slender, bright, and happy… Other people try yoga, and it seems to work fairly well for them, if not as amazing as with the others. And still other people try but can’t seem to pick it up very well; or yoga just seems boring, or a chore; or they’re simply too busy, and they drop it. A few people even have a bad experience with it.”
Boom. A connection. I’ve had a bad experience with yoga. I’m one of those few people. So now I’m finding it, all over again. It is my dedicated journey.
Taking a sneak peak at other reviews, I REALLY like how rational the sutras are seeming based on this book. In my old yoga teacher training days, the sutras seemed so mystical to me, and I therefore slashed them with a big fat X. “Who cares about the sutras? Not me! I’m rational. Not magical.”
My favorite section of the book focused on Sutra II.5D ‘We misunderstand our world: things that are not themselves seem to us as if they were.’ Friday explains this with a bamboo pen and asks the Captain whether it is a pen ‘itself, by itself’ and the Captain maintains that of course it’s a pen, everybody knows it’s a pen. So Friday proceeds to feed the pen to a cow outside the jail, who, she points out, has no idea it’s a pen but rather food. From that she proceeds to ask how we know anything is anything? A person I might think is annoying and rude, can be perceived by someone else to be honest and open. So it is my own perception, making it seem to me they are annoying. It is this misunderstanding of the world that Patanjali claims is the cause of suffering. He says ‘Yoga is learning to stop how the mind turns things around I.2′. – Gretchen, Yoga for Every Body Blog
Could this be any more in line with my refusal to see things according to Webster’s Dictionary? Could this be any more in line with my fundamental philosophy on life? I think we may have a new love affair with the Yoga Sutras. And I thank Nataly for that.
How, beyond the postures, does yoga exist in your life?