Last week, after a seriously busy December and in the midst of various deadlines, I started my day with yoga. I haven't taken a yoga class in years. The last time I plopped myself down in a room full of barefooted strangers, I had a baby growing inside of me. I found prenatal yoga to give me a deep connection to the little life beneath my heart, a chance to breathe and relax when doing so felt nearly impossible, and - surprisingly - a place where I connected with other soon-to-be moms who, 7 years later, are still friends of mine.
Since then, I've started my own business, had a second baby, changed to a work-from-home job for a national non-profit, and generally worked myself into a corner with a to-do list that will melt your face. I love what I do, and I honestly feel like it's killing me. Meals are eaten in front of my computer, sleep is a long-forgotten luxury I can barely afford. I can actually feel the impact on my body - let alone my relationships - and I don't like it. People I know are facing illness and death at a very young age, and I'm guessing my current lifestyle is putting me at a much higher risk for such a thing to occur in my own life.
So, I was offered a complimentary class at West Asheville Yoga, and I took it. Though I have fond memories of pre-natal yoga, there are definitely some things about yoga that I just don't like. I'm not a fan of bare feet, mine or anyone else's. It's just too much information. And some poses are just plain uncomfortable. Downward Facing Dog? Not my favorite.
But my yoga class a few days ago felt really good, a pause to breathe and focus and just not be in the midst of all of life - the communications, the to-do list, the glow of the computer screen. It was just me, and my breathing, and a room full of other breathers. Sometimes hearing other people breathe is annoying, but during the class I felt the room inhale and exhale together like some collective being, and it felt kind of awesome. At some point, the sun started shining in through the window to my right. As I tried to focus on my breathing and stretching, I also thought "come on, lady, shut those curtains - that sun is right in my face!" But as we wound down to Shavasana, the room suddenly felt too cool, my bare feet freezing against my borrowed and hopefully previously-sanitized mat. I turned my face towards the sun, with my eyes closed. It felt great - like it was there just to warm me up. It felt like a gift, a surprising one, that I had thought wasn't a gift at all. Today will be different, I thought. And perhaps tomorrow can be as well.
Indeed, 2015 will be very different for me. My life is changing, some of it in ways I cannot control and some of it in ways that I can. My non-profit job is ending. I'm being laid off, which is new territory for me. I've got a little over two months to build some wings for a gigantic leap of faith I'm taking. I'm not going to look for another job. Instead, I'm going to do something I've wanted to do for years - I'm going to focus on photography full-time. I've got some other work lined up too - a bit of consulting perhaps, and some studio management for Brian and for Orange Krush. But the primary focus is going to be my photographs, my family, and finally burning the candle at only one end.
You'll be hearing more about this in the weeks and months to come. If you're so inclined, your positive thoughts, referrals, and general good juju will be much appreciated as I step off this cliff. Like the sun in my face during yoga, I'm seeing this as a gift. Namaste, y'all. Here we go!
Yoga image courtesy of my lovely photo shoot with yoga instructor Maggie.