How I found yoga
I began practicing yoga as a result of an ankle injury in 2008. I had been a longtime runner and orienteer (what is orienteering?), making my way up and down the Swedish mountains with a map and compass. I liked the effect running had on my mind. Running was my moving meditation, by listening to the sound of my breath and the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, I felt strong, calm and centered. I remember how I often returned from a run, bursting with new ideas and projects, and sometimes with a solution to a problem. With time I learnt that many questions could be answered, simply by looking inside.
Through orienteering I faced many fears, I crossed ice-cold swamps and practiced at night in pitch-dark forests. I learnt that I was strong. Knowing how to remain calm and focused, was key to find the way back home. Then, due to some hasty moves on a longboard in 2008, I fell and injured my ankle. This lead to surgery and a whole summer in a cast. Suddenly, I felt like a prisoner in my own body.
For recovery, I was recommended light exercise, such as yoga or pilates. I attended a yoga class with my mom at the local gym. At first, I found the practice too slow. In some poses, I almost felt like napping on my mat. Yet, it felt good to move and stretch my body.
As I began to practice more regularly, I soon felt the benefits yoga had on my body and mind. I learnt how to breathe more deeply and to stay focused in tough situations. I soon noticed a new sense of balance in my body, while I was building both strength and flexibility.
Yoga changed my life. After the injury, I have a new appreciation for movement. A new understanding of breath. Simply put, my connection to the practice has developed far beyond where four wheels and a board could ever take me.
Looking back, I’m grateful for finding yoga already in high school, since it has allowed me to grow my practice from an early age. It has been a long journey, from almost sleeping on my mat in the beginning, to challenging myself through a rigorous practice, to finally learning how to adapt my practice daily to cultivate balance and harmony in body and mind.