"Graceful." "Beautiful." "Strong."
This last month I've been receiving more praise and compliments on my practice, both in person at the studio and online through Instagram (@theyogikim).
They would say stuff like, "You are goals," or, "So much control!"
Not gonna lie, it feels good when people take 5 seconds to acknowledge me. I really do practice a lot and I can see how that translates to me working hard, but the reason why I practice so much (sometimes up to 2-3 times in a day) is because of some deeply rooted dark emotions: I'm afraid of being controlled, moreover, of not being in control.
Some context: In my early years of college, I developed a relationship with a boy which turned to be physically and emotionally abusive. I felt controlled and out of control even after the relationship ended.
When I first started practicing yoga regularly, it easily became an addiction. For one hour every day, I was out of my apartment, away from my ex-boyfriend, and surrounded in a space where I felt comfortable and most importantly, safe. It was shared with a wonderful community, yet, at the same time, was entirely my own.
To say the least, it was an escape.
And to be true, practicing is still a way for me to get away from anything and everything.
When I practice yoga, I feel freer than anywhere else with anyone else. It liberates me from the expectations and pressure I feel from the general population. I set my own expectations, my own rules. I am in control.
Control my breath, control my movement, control my thoughts and emotions.
My obsession with practicing yoga can be directly translated to an obsession with control. The physical yoga helps calm the fluctuations of the mind by tiring the body and mind, so for someone who was depressed and highly anxious, yoga was a huge help in calming any troubling thoughts.
Though this addiction is deeply rooted from some dark seed, from that dark seed came a new, conscious life.
I am humbled whenever people come up to me at the studio or comment on my videos/pictures on Instagram. It reminds me that there is still so much I want to learn. My addiction to being on the mat is no longer just an escape, but a stage for me to grow and learn more. What can I accomplish now that I have control over my life?