How does one find yoga? This strange physical practice, this philosophy, this lifestyle, this community? The yogis have a saying, “If you come to find yoga in this life, you’ve known it before.”
Yoga has come to me at different stages of my life, in different ways.
Now, yoga is more prevalent, easier to come across with its own major magazines, chant musicians, slick ads, and yogi celebrities. Not so in 1992. I was working at the now defunct Waldenbooks as an assistant manager. We could check books out like a library, and I came across B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga. He is the real deal, swathed in nothing but a white cloth and his caste symbols, symbols of his lineage. I could not tell you what drew me to it, how I actually found it, or decided to bring it home, but I did.
I was living with my sister at the time. I opened the book and began to try to mimic the postures. Hilarity ensued. This man bent, twisted, and balanced his body in ways that seemed humanly impossible. I tried, we laughed. It was great fun. But, I realized quickly this level was beyond me. Not detoured, (I learned everything out of books then), I brought home a new book: Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan. The postures were much more accessible and laid out a nice plan of progression: not too much at once, not too little. I began to learn yoga, practicing at home, by myself. Not only did this book show the postures, but also included little snippets of philosophy to follow for then the modern person, which was 1970 or so. It was a bit outdated for me, but did begin the journey. I began to learn yoga from a book!