Yoga, the Crown Jewel of India: Threads of Connection, Part 3

It was my search for inner peace that led me to Yoga. I soon learned that inner peace was not something I could earn by practicing but something that came naturally and incrementally as a result of the practice. I noticed fairly early that even though my focus was mostly on postures and breathing, I was already experiencing fewer reactive impulses, a quieter mind, and calmer emotional states. Greater strength and flexibility, increased energy, improved immunity, and better balance also became apparent.

Surprisingly, the mental and emotional differences were noticed by some colleagues who commented about what they observed and wanted me to teach them. I had never considered teaching yoga, but because they sincerely wanted to learn and wanted me to teach them I agreed. I didn't know much, but I knew more than they did, and being a teacher by profession, I knew how to teach (not true of everyone who attempts it). That initiated the third of my threads of connection to India and Yoga.

Once I started teaching and others experienced the same benefits I had noticed, word spread, and through no intentional effort on my part, I ended up teaching several Hatha Yoga classes over the next three years in Midland and Odessa, Texas. Yoga was looked upon with suspicion then, especially in that part of the country, and yet as the saying goes, nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

In 1982 my husband's company transferred him to Dallas. Disillusioned by the direction public education was already taking, I walked away from my chosen career, one that I had thought I would follow until I retired. Looking for other options, I decided to try the business world and after gaining some experience as a temp, found a position as an Administrative Assistant. The work completely bored me and I eventually found more engaging work as a writer and editor--a definite improvement.

I also found three good, knowledgeable yoga teachers in Dallas. I learned a lot from them and eventually started teaching a few classes part time here and there as demand for yoga classes grew. God still had plans for me that I didn't yet grasp, and leading up to my fourth layoff in seven years, I sustained a whiplash injury in a car wreck. You wouldn't think that would play a big part in the rest of my life, but it did. I was wanting at the time to try freelance writing. Technical writing and writing for the social expressions industry had left my own creative ideas to languish. On the other hand, freelance writing is not an especially lucrative occupation, and what income there is can be sporadic.

After giving up on any help from conventional medical doctors for the whiplash injury, I met a massage therapist who worked on my neck and shoulder. Soon I was pain free and my range of motion was restored. What she did, together with a message given me in a private session by a young man named John, led me to become a massage therapist. At the time I had the reading with John, no one on the planet, except for me, knew that I was even considering doing the training, but it seemed a good match to me. I could work one on one with people, helping them to heal naturally, and arrange my schedule to do freelance writing assignments while enjoying a steady income.

During the private session, John channeled Edgar Cayce (who had died in 1945) and was known as the "Sleeping Prophet). He explained that Edgar sometimes spoke through him. "Edgar" spoke directly to me, saying, "You should follow through on your plans to become a massage therapist." I was in shock to hear that. No one knew I was considering massage therapy training. No one.

Here's the way God worked this out. I was unemployed by the end of the year (1988) but knew months before that the probability of being laid off was high. Shortly before being laid off, my neck was injured and I started seeing the massage therapist, with great improvement after none with regular doctors. I started thinking about possibly taking the training.

Then I had the session with John, not planning to ask about massage therapy training at all. I heard--and still have on a cassette recording of the session--that I should become a massage therapist. I also heard "Edgar" speak about all the benefits of massage to the body, mind, and nervous system. Two other absolutely verifiable pieces of information came from that session with John, one of which I had no clue had happened until my mother phoned me that same night saying my Aunt Beryl had passed away a couple of weeks before, when my mother was traveling and out of touch.

After my session with John ended that day, Good Friday in April, 1988, I went home and entered a meditative state during which I realized that if it was in my highest and best good and the highest and best good of All That Is to become a massage therapist, then somehow it would all work out--money, time, everything. By December of that year, everyone in the Editorial Department where I worked was laid off. I was unemployed and had plenty of time on my hands. I had profit sharing from my employer. After researching massage therapy schools in the Dallas area, I began massage therapy training in January 1989.

After graduating, I met a massage therapist named Lynn, who worked at the massage therapy center that first employed me. We became friends and talked often about Yoga. She told me at one point that her sister-in-law Paula was looking for someone to take over a yoga class she had been teaching at a nearby recreation center. On Paula's recommendation, I took over teaching the class when Paula left. That one experience opened up all the subsequent yoga teaching I've done since then--in fact it is the one connecting thread to my life from that point on, and that thread leads to an enormous section of my life that became woven together with India and Yoga.

Such are the threads of connection we each have in our lives. Such thin, almost invisible threads can lead us to the most important, significant, and meaningful events of our lives. They may be of either positive or negative nature. If there are notable, major events or turning points in your life, especially when all of your plans are laid out well in advance and you think your life will follow along a pre-planned route exactly as you have designed it, but suddenly things take a different tack, these are the kinds of threads we can discern and from which we can glean valuable insights. It is a powerful way to know yourself. And self study, svadhyaya, is a major part of the journey of yoga practitioners.

It may be a useful exercise to consider what or who has made the most difference in your life, perhaps at a point when you most needed it, and how that one thing or person has led to who you are in this moment. Tracing each thread back to its origin is not really that hard to do, but the first appearance of the thread may be surprising. As Carolyn Myss says, "Want to see God laugh? Tell him your plans!"