by Vanessa Lucas (One of our students who has changed dramatically since she first entered our doors… Thank you for being here V. We will miss you as you continue following your dreams and your graduate degree. We are so proud of you!)
On November 11, 2012 I celebrated another accomplishment that I can credit my yoga practice with; it will be one year since I quit smoking cigarettes. I am exceedingly grateful that I was able to do this, because last year this time there were so many things happening in my life that should have or could have made me fail at that. But I just took one day at a time—moving through the troubles and the trials of everyday life until I got to where I am now.
I have absolutely no judgment of anyone who is like I was, leaving class and getting out of eyesight of the studio before I lit up. Now, I am in judgment of myself, because I was not letting yoga in and of itself work for me. Really that is not what this forum is about—it is about celebrating our bodies, whatever they may look like.
My teacher Liz told me about all of the bad things I was doing to my body, even going so far as to remind me that in Chinese medicine “the lungs hold grief and inspiration,” and when I smoked I was compacting both. As a writer, that was no good-but at one time I wanted so badly to fit into the mold of an angsty, brilliant author—so I didn’t think I could do it without my smokes.
Basically, the thing is I quit smoking on 11/11/11 for a variety of reasons. At Greenville Yoga, we focus on the breath and the movement, but the breath is stressed as the most important. I remember my first few classes as we would go into downward facing dog, I would feel so energetic and alive—and that was right after I decided to do away with one of the worst habits anyone can ever pick up.
Today, as I think about all of the greatness and inspiration that has come my way I am extremely grateful that my teachers and my community didn’t judge me for my addictions, only offering support when I decided on my own to stop. I am most grateful for the opportunity to live a clean breathing, more creative life today. Yes, yoga is expensive—with all of the props, class fees and name brand clothing, but to paraphrase Max Strom in his book “A Life Worth Breathing,” so are visits to the Doctor, Therapist and everything else that we seek in our search for comfort in this world.
I guess it really is all about switching bad habits with good—after a while any bad habit fades and our body and mind begins to find recovery. Yoga is certainly my best antedote as I work towards healing and health. Which habit could you eliminate in your life by finding a regular practice of yoga, gratitude or meditation? You will certainly be glad you did.