This is a glimpse of Tajuana Paige's yogi journey. In this article she writes about how she has gained clarity on her needs and aspirations for life through a regular yoga practice and found compassion for herself. It is an inspirational article that invites everyone to join a yoga class.

I first discovered that I needed yoga in my life about 8 years ago. I had just graduated college and had plans of going directly to law school but life had other plans. I ended up right where I started before going to college; at my parents’ house. I worked for a year and during that year I found out what I wanted to do with my life (at least up until that point). If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I’m sure there was a rumble of laughter in the sky during that time in my life! Since I was a little girl, I had my whole entire life planned out from start to finish. I refused to account for speed bumps because with me in control, there would be none! Sometimes our best plans are the ones that do not work out.

I packed up my childhood room, again, and moved out of state for school, again. This time I never looked back. After receiving my post-graduate degree, I decided to stay and make a new life for myself. A new city, new people and new routines. I was working full time and going to school at night. I needed an outlet, a release. It was then that I discovered a yoga studio right around the corner from my apartment. The love affair was not instant, I was hesitant for quite sometime because I was a beginner yogini and was surrounded by yoga experts. I was out of place, or so I thought. It was in that studio that yoga met me in my mess of feeling lost and out of control.

Yoga taught me that being in control is not always necessary or healthy.  The feeling of being lost is the perfect time for lessons to be learned. I didn’t want to hear that, I wanted to continue, to try and pick up the pieces of my out-of-control life and nothing would stand in my way.  My life had been turned upside down, I was still binging, quite frequently, on control.  No law school, to me, meant that my life was essentially over. I’m happy to report that I never ended up going to law school and I am still functioning quite well, imagine that! Each class I attended, I slowly let go of tiny pieces of control and began to peel back layers of myself; pretty scary! I was in my own hell and yoga was with me in those darkest of days.

Yoga is a practice that requires the student to consistently extend compassion to oneself and forgive oneself for allowing our ego to rear its ugly head. When we step onto our mats, stand shoulder to shoulder with other humans and try oh so desperately to lay our egos down, only then can we experience true compassion. The act of compassion is also a practice. A practice of any type requires patience because perfectionism will drop by unannounced, begging to be let in to and will seek likeminded company.

Compassion is one of those words that we are taught at a very young age to use but are never actually told the real significance behind it. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Compassion reminds us that we are all human beings doing the best we can with what we have at that moment. Much to my surprise: control and compassion cannot co-exist because there will be turmoil. Yoga is one of the best cures for our hectic and stressful lives. For one reason or another we have convinced ourselves that we can get through this life without help. We all struggle and at times, feel alone in our struggles. For most of us, our first response to any type of struggle or feeling of discomfort is to run, run far away from the pain. Facing uncomfortable situations means to crack open your heart and become vulnerable and that is terrifying for most people. Yoga is raw, vulnerable and real; the purest form of humanity. To pour one’s heart out on a rubber mat lying shoulder to shoulder with other imperfect beings; there is not a single thing more pure than that.

If you are a living, breathing being, you have been face-to-face with two constants in this life: pain and change, both of which are inevitable. You may have even sat with them for days, weeks or even years. You have may gotten up from the table before the conversation even began. If you stay at the table long enough, compassion will join and then suggest that you attend a yoga class.

Over the past 8 years, I have gone to hundreds of yoga classes at the studio where I found my passion. Yoga met me in my mess and it has come to be best thing that I never knew that I needed. I am forever grateful to yoga for meeting me in my mess and showing me constant compassion.

Tajuana Paige