Student Perspective: Gary Leivers

Stepping Through the Door 

I had been aware of Yoga One’s studio for six years before I stepped through the door for the first time. My office looked down onto the small businesses along 7th Avenue, but not until losing a fight with a very heavy piece of furniture would we become acquainted. After numerous physical therapies, acupunctures and injections, I finally found myself sitting in a spinal surgeon’s office faced with the grim reality that my options were running out and going under the knife was looking more and more likely. Reviewing our final options, the surgeon asked if I’d tried yoga before. I hadn’t and immediately my internal Wikipedia pulled up the image of the sign outside the studio that was my only point of reference to this strange-sounding word.

I think it’s part of the curse of being British that we fear embarrassment more than speaking in public or large spiders, but I can honestly say walking to my first class that I was absolutely terrified. Perhaps I had built up an undefined, slightly suspect, pre-conception of exactly what went on behind that door, but it was certainly nothing I had experienced before. The mat, the blocks, the blankets, the belt; all so confusing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having a defining life moment. As confident as I might have been in other areas, in this world, I felt painfully self-conscious and overwhelmed. I had no idea what to do or say and I kept looking at the door.

Just at the point when anxiety was getting the better of me and I was getting up to leave, a soft voice spoke. Wren introduced herself and asked me how I was and if I had any physical issues. Her voice was so kind, I couldn’t help but feel that no matter what was going to happen in the next hour, I was in very good hands. And so over the coming months, I was introduced to this undiscovered country; the practice of yoga. Slowly but surely, the omnipresent pain in my lower back left my body. When I think about the alternative route that I might have taken, it reminds me that important decisions in life are sometimes defined by very small moments.

Stepping through Yoga One’s door was really just the start and the subsequent journey over nearly two years has been a joy. Sharing my journey with new friends and fabulous instructors along the way has been the true reward. I am profoundly grateful to Michael and Amy for providing this oasis in my life. 

If you’re reading this and have reservations about trying something new that sounds like a character from Star Wars, then I encourage you not to wait six years before walking through the door. For me, every time I feel the base of my spine and there is no scar I am reminded of why I’m glad I did. I hope you are too.

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