When I practice yoga I feel whole.

I didn’t come to yoga expecting to change my life; I didn’t expect to change much of anything, really. Maybe I thought I’d get more flexible or feel a little lighter on my feet. And I certainly have experienced those things, but that’s only part of the story.

I’d done yoga years ago, but I just thought of it as a work-out—as in, do a bunch of work, then get out. I exercised out of obligation, out of guilt, out of punishment: punishment for having a body, for having my body. My body was something I dragged around, resenting, hiding, hating. Every day, every breath, the world told me I was wrong for taking up space, and I believed it.

I came back to yoga when I read about The Yoga Project’s program. Something about the description, “Yoga for the Larger Woman,” touched a glimmer of possibility I didn’t even know I’d been holding. It seemed like it might be a place I could fit in, where I could feel comfortable working out.

But when I came to the mat this time around, I was amazed to discover that it wasnʼt work. Somewhere along the line, I stopped going through the motions of yoga and let the motions go through me. I wasnʼt moving my body; I was simply moving. I wasnʼt directing my body; I was my body. And in that moment, my body wasnʼt wrong. It just was. I was complete, body and mind.

Sure, I have more energy when I practice yoga; I find more moments of joy in my days; Iʼm limber enough to reach under my couch to retrieve a stray knitting needle. This is all nice, but itʼs beside the point. I practice yoga because I know, somewhere in the midst of those sequences of motions and studied gestures, somethingʼs going to click into place, and all of a sudden, I wonʼt be working, I wonʼt be wanting, I wonʼt be trying to figure out who I am. My body and mind and breath and being will all snap into place and Iʼll just exist: one whole perfect thing. Iʼll be.

- Tara