By Joel Nilsson (Carrie -Yoga shoot #002 Uploaded by High Contrast) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A Whole New Universe

My yoga practice grows with me. I take it with me everywhere I go. It never feels left out or left behind, because I see it in everything I do. If I didn’t, I never would’ve done yoga in the Castle or figured out that I can practice pincha between the walls adjacent my dorm room door or convinced my roommate to bring her mat to school. My yoga practice is a part of me. This semester has challenged me in many ways, particularly when it came to making friends and finding a group; but just like I feel a connection to my yoga, yoga has helped me make connections with others.

I have always considered myself rather outgoing. I am not one to shy away from conversation and am all for meeting new people. By the same token though, I am not one to immediately jump in with both feet to the deep end of friendship. I am more the “one toe at a time” type. This made adjusting to college a challenge. A lot of people walked onto campus the first day expecting and wanting to meet their best friends for life right away. And so they did. Groups of girls (and guys) professing their adoration for each other by the end of orientation week and sitting together at every meal. Certainly, I made friends, but I didn’t have that immediate close bond with anyone (nor did I really feel the want or need to). I wanted to settle into my own life at school before I settled into someone else’s. And that was okay.

During the first weeks of class, it started to hit me that perhaps I was feeling a bit alone. Sure, I talked to plenty of people and had a lot of acquaintances but I still felt oddly out of place. I was off balance, if you will. But my yoga helped. It has a funny way of taking my life and making me look at things differently—whether that is because I am just relaxed or literally seeing the world from a new angle in a pose, I don’t know. No matter how I was feeling on those days, I did some yoga and felt a little better. Then, my practice became a cool talking point. Who knew that giving up most of my weekends during my senior year of high school, missing all the cool kid stuff to become certified to teach something I love would end up making me “cool” at college in the long run. I like sharing my practice with others. I offered some of my new schoolmates classes, knowledge, and became known as “that girl who teaches yoga” for a while. It felt good. Even if I didn’t have this immediate sense of closeness to any one person, I was close to my practice, and that made me accessible to the world.

Time passed. I made friends. I still might not be a part of a group but I am certainly finding my people. I am a student ambassador, which has definitely connected me to a whole new world of individuals for which I am truly grateful. Writing for Because Arcadia has also become an advantage. I never realized how much my voice actually meant, especially when talking about my normal everyday things like home or classes or yoga, but I had people around me telling me they were looking forward to my next posts and asking me about starting a yoga club (don’t worry, I’m still working on it for the Spring).

So I haven’t yet made my best friends for life, and that’s fine with me. I’ve done something more important in my mind. I have taken something I love so much—my practice, a part of myself—and shared it with more individuals than I can count. I have taught a few classes, I have written, I have chatted, I have read, I have practiced, I have learned, and I have shared. My experience maintaining this lifestyle I love so much has been everything I’d hoped for and then some. I certainly am excited at the possibility to grow and nurture deeper relationships, but I’m even more excited to continue sharing something I love so much with others. My practice is growing with me, and I have really loved bringing it to Arcadia with me. However, as the semester comes to a close, I’m just as thrilled that I get to take it home for the holiday break. Namaste, Arcadia. One semester here and I already feel alive with a whole new universe. Om.

Photo by Joel Nilsson