People have different reasons for beginning a yoga practice. Health, fitness, peace of mind. Writer Clare Dederer says in her recent book Poser: my life in twenty-three yoga poses, that it was her newborn daughter that led her there.
Not me. Murder led me to yoga.
Most of my adult life, I've been surrounded by murder. I've been a newspaper crime reporter, a network television producer for a show that focuses on murders, and that led me to write four true-crime books about, you guessed it, murder.
Several years ago, I decided that I needed more balance (understatement alert) in my life and so began going to yoga with my wife who was then and is still practicing. I had gone for a while in the '70s when I was having panic attacks but that was a long time ago. (By the way, yoga cured me of those panic attacks.)
At I began this second go-round with yoga, I was very stiff and nearly pulled a hamstring in my first class but I kept at it. I went through a phase where I couldn't believe how hard I found each posture. The young supple female teachers were doing them with ease but I was struggling with the easiest of moves. I needed to carry a towel to class because I sweat so profusely and, believe me, I noticed that no one else was sweating like that.
But I kept at it, began following some teachers I really liked and attended a small studio in my neighborhood where I really 'learned' yoga. These days, I'm not an expert but I feel I can attend pretty much any studio and not embarrass myself.
I'm still surrounded by murder at work, but yoga has given me a lot of perspective and I try, as they say, to take the yoga off the mat and use it in my life.
I'm usually surprised by something or someone in yoga class, and one teacher introduced me to my favorite poem, "The Summer Day" written by Mary Oliver. It's those last two lines that are always get me:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?