One of my most favorite children’s books is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I don’t really know what it is about that book that I like so much, but in many ways, I guess I can resonate with that little caterpillar that ate through the world before becoming a butterfly. In the past year, I guess that journey of the very hungry caterpillar is the same as my yoga journey. I was a very hungry cater-yogi :) Like the transformation that caterpillar took, my year on the mat has been quite a metamorphosis.

To be honest, doing yoga, or anything that remotely requires some element of grace, fluidity, motion and coordination, was something I would have never imagined myself doing in the past. After all, besides being the Fat Girl, I was the super self-conscious introvert. So much so that even fun things like jumping off a swing or doing a jump shot with friends was NEVER something I would do. In all the parties and debuts I went to as a teenager, I never danced. I was just too self-conscious.

However, as I said when I started this blog, one day I just knew I had to do yoga. It was something I had wanted to do since around 2007, but I was always too shy, too insecure, and too self-conscious to even try, But then the stirring in me was so strong, and so I gave in. I came to a class with nothing but that dream, and I just went with it.

And so like that little egg that laid on a leaf in the light of the moon, I laid my dream on a mat and waited for the right time to come.

It’s quite apt that I started my practice with Yin Yoga. Perhaps that was like the little egg that needed to be hatched. In yin I learned to curl into a little shell, waiting patiently in stillness for growth to happen and for the space for me to find my way into sacred shapes to be created. Soon, I found myself popping out of that egg, just like that little caterpillar. Slowly, in my little leaf of a mat, I explored. I learned to appreciate what was, what is, and what isn’t. I found my way to being comfortable with silence and how it is to just breathe through discomfort. It wasn’t long when I found the courage to start crawling away from the safety of that leaf I once lay in, and soon ventured out to what else was there.

I found my way to an Ashtanga class, and found myself brave enough to face challenges that seemed impossible to me. I loved the routine that the class presented to me, I enjoyed pushing myself a little further and yet falling back to the safety of knowing what comes next. But pretty soon, the hunger for more grew even more, albeit in the beginning, I guess I wasn’t too aware of it.

It wasn’t long before I discovered the beauty of Vinyasa, and of moving with my breath, and just going with the flow. I never knew I could let go and just move to the groove of the music only I can hear. From there I found a heart that was open and willing enough to try, even if I felt unsure. Even if it seemed weird. Even if I felt insecure.

And so I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried until I found the Yin and the Yang of my practice.

I tried a bit of this and a bit of that, from power yoga to hot yoga, to Bikram and even Hatha and restorative vinyasas. I jumped at every opportunity to learn from not just my teachers, but my teachers teachers as well, and soon I got to be acquainted with the soft belly breath and the back body, and even places and space I never knew could exist in the human body. I was soooo into yoga that I lived and breathed yoga. I guess there came a point when I became much like that little caterpillar who ate too much, left clutching an owie tummy. I practiced so much that at times, I pushed myself too hard, thus creating unhealthy patterns once again. And yeah, there came a point, especially when a crisis came my way and my heart was hurting, I used yoga as an escape, much as the way I used to use food as a cover-up for all the unpleasantries of life.

Just before I ended the first year of practice my practice, I found the myself in an AntiGravity Yoga hammock and I was gifted with the ability to soar and to rise above. But more than just that, it was when I snuggled into that little silk cocoon, bringing with me a heart that lived through hurt, a soul that was bruised, and an ego that was too angry to let go, that I found my way back to the me I had gotten to know when I started my practice. I found the cater-yogi who learned to embrace silence and stillness. Who appreciated challenges for what they were, but allowed herself to go with the flow and just be. The one who lived and loved with an open heart. AntiGravity Yoga took me full circle.

And so as I made my way out of that hammock, I made a choice to shed the skin I had brought in with me and start anew. As i tiptoed my way back to the ground, gently and carefully, i was reminded to live simply, speak kindly, care deeply, love generously, forgive readily, release attachment to results and be grateful no matter what :) and that yes, though change can be difficult and uncomfortable, sometimes even painful, it is always, always well worth it in the end.

Oh, and when I emerged, I no longer was stuck on the ground. I found my wings and I could fly.

 

A caterpillar, in it’s ‘caterpillariness’ simply follows its dharma or instinctual, divine, self-determined path by efforting (a relaxed effort, I am sure as what else does the caterpillar have to do) to build a cocoon and then it simply waits for transformation -- magnetic pull whereby no effort is required by the caterpillar -- into a butterfly. The caterpillar does not worry that it will not turn into a butterfly for it just knows, call it faith, that it will indeed become a butterfly. - Jeri Senor

quote from here. photo from my dear soul friend, Jane, the Yogini From Manila :)

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