The following was published on www.oregonsportsnews.com on 27 August 2013.

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I’m starting graduate school today. It’s a day I’ve been waiting for nearly six months. It’s been six months of uncertainty and busting my butt. There were several months of vulnerability and some well-earned cynicism thrown in for good measure. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I do have more patience, a new tattoo, and an even better sense of humor to show for it. My devotion to my practice got me through it and although it’s been a challenge, everything I’ve learned along the journey made me a stronger person. In the words of a new yogi friend, “It’s all a practice.” A practice I am extremely grateful for.

I jumped up and down on my bed out of sheer joy when I found out I was accepted into grad school. It was pure exhilaration. I was deep into my yoga practice and in love with my life and friends in South Korea, but I was ready to head “home” to America. This letter of acceptance could only be equated to receiving an owl from Hogwarts. Future stability had been granted to me; I had a way “out.”

A way out of what? I was only slightly aware of the complete black hole of the unknown I’d soon launch myself into. As the days neared and the fear of the unknown settled in, the stability and love I grew accustomed to in Seoul seemed to shatter. I flew out of the country and my adopted family was torn away from me. It felt like I was separating from five pieces of my own soul; it was pure heartbreak.

Yoga has helped me heal. No matter how much I struggled to find a regular physical asana practice while traveling and moving around the world, the core of my practice has continuously grown stronger. Yoga kept me motivated; it kept me passionate; and ultimately, it kept me going through the tough challenges.

Yoga teaches present moment awareness. It means unity. Unity of the body to the mind; of breath to movement; of our souls to the universe and to all that is around usEverything is connected. Nothing is separate. My practice is constantly teaching me to let go of a desire to control. We cannot control future situations or anyone else’s thoughts, words, or actions. We can only be responsible for our own actions and attitudes toward situations.

My teacher once said, “The power of present moment awareness can heal everything – goodness and virtue will enter into the moment.” I’m finding this to be true more and more lately. What will be will be and our lives will continue to flow on; however, each action, reaction, and the energy we cultivate will affect everything around us.  This is Karma. This is also known as being a decent human being.

We cannot change the past; we cannot change the future. All we can do is here and now. Whether that is on the mat or off makes no difference.

With pure gratitude and an open heart, Namaste.

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