Adventures in Becoming a Yogi

For long the thought of practicing yoga regularly has been on my mind.

Every time I had tried out yoga, I had experienced some huge benefits which typically revolved around a “purging of emotions” and a lot of mental clarity.

That being said, yoga can be fucking hard. You might think running several miles each week would be hurt, but as someone who does just that, trust me- yoga can be more challenging (or equal).

I went through a short-lived phase of doing a bit of yoga here or there in the end of my 7th month in Bulgaria, but all yoga practice ended as soon as my visa expired and I was forced to unexpectedly leave the country.

Despite my ex-girlfriend’s encouragement to continue, I never did (and I probably was a hell of a lot LESS peaceful as a result- sorry!).

Anyways, here’s my recent adventures in becoming a yogi.

Magical Appearances

I never chose yoga; yoga came to me. One morning in Phoenix (last week) I woke up with the thought:

“you know, I should really try out some yoga to relax a bit.”

My friend then texted me inviting me to a free yoga event. Woohoo! I went, and after the free class saw they had a promotion for $9 unlimited for 2 weeks… and you get a free yoga mat!

The best of this is there is no contract or auto-renew bullshit like some gyms do. This is obviously a marketing trick to get me into their actual monthly plan, and damn is it working well.

So here I am with $9 unlimited yoga for 2 weeks, and I’ve decided not to go once, twice, or even three times… but almost every single day.

All I can say is that the benefits have been immeasurable. Here we go:

Enjoying The Present

Recently I’ve been under a lot of stress & self-pressure to “pick a home base” to live. I was originally thinking Las Vegas, but I’ve also considered going nomadic again in South America (just to hit one last continent), Portland, or even moving completely to Sofia, Bulgaria.

This is obviously too many variables, and in my first few days of Phoenix I never really enjoyed it because I was too messed up from jet lag, reverse culture shock, and then this self-pressure to “pick somewhere to go.”

My mind for the past half year has been so focused on “where to go next” that I’ve lacked enjoying the present moment!

This started again ever since my visa unexpectedly was rejected in Bulgaria and I had one week to pack my things & go.

I can distinctly remember spending the whole month in Cyprus (after Bulgaria) mainly depressed & out of it. On one of the last few days I discovered an ancient theater & underground cave system literally 2 minutes walk away from my apartment hidden from the public and free to visit anytime.

Because I was so trapped in missing the past & planning for the future, I missed the opportunity to explore this beautiful area! Unfortunately I haven’t changed that until recently.

I’ve now decided to “let go” of the desire to be anywhere. While I’m not satisfied with being in Phoenix because 1) I prefer to live alone, and 2) I hate driving, I’ve decided to take it as an experience and let it be just that.

Since then deciding where to go has become much easier. It’s as if by consciously giving up the desire to know, my subconscious mind can handle the details!

In fact, not only have the answers slowly “came to me,” but I’ve also had quite creative solutions come to mind in order to test multiple possibilities without damage.

Finally, I realized that almost every decision is reversible. If I choose to get a visa for Bulgaria or Germany or any other country and it doesn’t work out, I can always make proper adjustments.

I’m letting things “come to me” rather than trying to take all of the future and have it NOW. By letting go, I’ve felt so much more relaxed and genuinely at peace.

Useful Epiphanies

Yoga has given me epiphanies that I didn’t necessarily want, but needed.

In the beginning of one session the instructor asked us to hold in mind an intention we’d like to have realized or something we’d like to release.

I asked myself, “well where would I like to live? Sofia, Portland, Vegas, etc.?”

Before the end of the session a powerful epiphany came to me:

It’s not the decision that matters, but rather the heart that you put into it.

What this means is that it doesn’t necessarily matter what decision I make, so long as I make a decision and then put my all into it.

Again when I was unexpectedly forced to leave Bulgaria, I stopped putting my “all” into everything I did. As a result I suffered horribly in Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Germany, and so many other places.

I also brought down my then girlfriend now ex-girlfriend because I wasn’t “putting my heart into life,” but instead withdrawing and letting life beat the crap out of me (and as she was connected to me, it was letting life hurt her too).

This epiphany also goes back to the whole “every decision can be fixed” epiphany mentioned earlier.

Right now my idea is to drive up to Vegas for a few day trip, then fly to Portland, live in Portland, while applying for a long-term visa for Bulgaria.

I haven’t wrote a lot on that subject though because I too often have said “I’m going to do this or that” but then didn’t. Feelings guided me in the moment, but now I’m “relaxing into the moment” and “letting life come to me.” I’ll commit when I’m certain. Right now, I’m not.

In short, it’s not about what choice you make, but how right you consciously choose to make the choice. With every choice you make, you also have a choice to take responsibility for your choice or not.

With responsibility & action a bad choice can be transformed into a good one, a good one into a great one, but without responsibility & action you may find a bad choice becomes hell (I sure did!) and a good choice falls apart.

Releasing The Past

A couple hours ago I had a huge mental release (and some crying to be honest) at the end of my last yoga session.

I came into the yoga session with no intention at all; I’m just doing yoga for the sake of doing it after all, to see how much I like it (I’m loving it).

During yoga I had a strange sensation bubble up which said:

You need to let go of Bulgaria. Let go of your ex. Let go of those happy times.

I’ve previously written that the 7th month of my first stay in Bulgaria was probably the happiest time in my life. In short I had the girl, the friends, health was good, money was good, apartment was good, everything was great.

And then I unexpectedly had to go, bla bla bla, sadness, etc.

In the past 6 months I never really let go of that. I never really accepted that that moment passed, that all of Bulgaria is gone for the time being.

As the feeling bubbled up, tears came to my eyes, and I caught myself slightly shaking my head “no” in denial.

Everything suddenly made sense. One of the reasons I had not given anywhere else my “all” is because I was still so attached to that memory.

At the end of the yoga session I stayed laying down while others left, to let the tears come out and feel the memory pass me through. It was really painful.

I’d like to say “I released the past, I’m completely happy now, and everything is all good,” but I know I still have some releasing to do. I haven’t fully let go yet. It’s hard to let go! That time was the best and I never took responsibility for the situation; I blamed government bureaucracy and the immigration lawyer who promised my stay but never fulfilled on it.

It is so, unbelievably hard to accept that May/June of 2018 is gone. Me and my ex were so happy; we had improved and transcended so many of our problems. Our relationship was stabilizing into a more mature, healthy relationship, and what ultimately began the end was the massive destabilization neither of us was prepared for.

I also reacted terribly and developed poor spending habits to compensate for my sadness. My deteriorating financial situation hurt my ex, I became inauthentic and unreliable, and emotionally unavailable & stressed.

May/June of 2018 was some of the best times ever, whereas June/July of 2018 were some nasty lows. I struggle now to stop writing of how good that 7th month in Bulgaria was, because it really was everything I could’ve wanted and dreamed for, and so many of my life’s problems came from the unexpected event- the worst of course being losing my ex (through my own negative, reactive behavior to the event).

Yoga today really helped me release a bit of that and look to the future.

It also is helping me better determine where I should go next in life. A part of me had suspected part of my desire to go back to Bulgaria was me chasing the memory of the 7th month, and now I can see clearly that I will never have that moment back, but instead I’ll have to consciously create something better no matter where I go.

Try Yoga!

So for all of you wondering if you should try yoga or not, I say go for it!

I’ll continue with my almost-daily practice of yoga and perhaps write another update.

The short version here is that I’ve experienced much more peace, released the past, stopped stressing so much about the future, and have also felt physically better in my own body.

There’s something to it that’s so amazing- whether or not it’s for you, only you can decide. I shall complete my challenge and decide whether to continue, but for the time being, I feel grateful for the $9 unlimited + free mat as it was much-needed in this time of chaos.

-Michael