Guest Blog: Yoga changed my concept of Peace

By Nancy Brovelli Mercurio

When I began my yoga practice 10 years ago, I did so for two main reasons. First, I needed to de-stress, because I had developed the painful and often debilitating condition of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is predominantly worsened or exacerbated by stress. Second, I thought  I could end up looking like Raquel Welch or Ali McGraw, both ageless and avid yoga followers. In my opinion, there was no downside.

What I found instead is an incredible opportunity to learn about a different culture and learn about love and peace for myself.

When I come to yoga class, I am Nancy. I am not someone’s mother, wife, volunteer, or employee. I am peaceful and accepting of who I am in that moment. I guess you could say, it brings me back to me.

It’s not that I mind being  a mother, wife, etc.; it’s just that I forget who I am, with all that is going on in my life. I tend to put everyone else first, which leaves little time for me, and without my yoga practice, I don’t take the time to be me. Yoga allows me to de-stress and forget about life for a while. Even if I’m having symptoms of IBS, I have never left a yoga class feeling anything but wonderful. I am always happy and rejuvenated.

Yoga is excelling for relieving symptoms of IBS, and I am overjoyed to say that my IBS symptoms are almost completely gone. Sure, I still have symptoms now and then; I’ve learned what helps to alleviate those by getting on my mat and doing a few poses.  It’s exhilarating to accomplish the goal(s) I make for myself  for that day’s practice. Those goals can be as difficult as accomplishing a headstand or just finding a sense of calm, peace, or joy. Lots of times, I get really lucky and accomplish all of those things. And when someone has an “Aha!” moment, the class shares in the richness of that moment.

I sincerely love my instructors because they are kind and loving. There’s an emotional bond that I feel for each one that comes from nothing more than a feeling or an energy that passes between us. They teach me new things eithere about my practice in particular, or about the Sanskrit teachings. Their words of wisdom and inspiration always seem so perfect at that moment. Could it be because they speak from the heart?

For the past year or so, I have facilitated between two of my favorite yoga instructors. They are very different, and yet, very much the same. I was recently making a reservation for a yoga class, when I noticed that day there would be a substitute. I had never taken a class with Rasoul, and decided to try it. This is very unusual for me.

The energy I felt from Rasoul upon meeting him was astonishing. I was mesmerized. So much so that after many warm-up poses, Rasoul was able to get me into a headstand with nothing more than his soft-spoken words and easy instructions. My fear of this inversion is profound, and to be able to confidently achieve this goal was nothing short of a miracle in my mind.  Rasoul obviously knew I could do it, and he gave me the confidence and power I thought I didn’t have to achieve this goal.

So guess what? Now, I have three favorite yoga instructors!!!

My current yoga studio is not close to my home, yet it’s not too far either. While there are many studios closer that I could try, I cannot tear myself  away from the community I have come to know and love. I’ve met some lovely ladies over the years, even if we just chat for five minutes after class. I look forward to seeing them every Tuesday or Friday, and if  I switch days, I know I’ll be running into someone I know.

I may not look like Raquel Welch or Ali McGraw, but I bet I’m filled with as much love, peace, and joy as they are!

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